Barnes Makes the Right Move at the Right Time : Santa Ana Valley Runner’s Decision Pays Off in Relay Victory at Sunkist Meet

Times Staff Writer

Kenny Barnes of Santa Ana Valley High School saw the slightest of openings, so he took it and passed a pack of runners on the inside of the track. He had to, there wasn’t time to waste waiting for a bigger, or safer, opening.

And never mind that his move into the lead violated every rule of track etiquette. There’s nothing illegal about it, it’s just considered bad form.

But Barnes could be excused for his overeager move. He was running the fourth leg of the boys’ rated 8 x 160-yard relay for in the Sunkist Invitational Friday in the Sports Arena. The race requires each runner to complete just one circuit of the track before handing off to a teammate.

It’s such a short race, one contested only indoors, that there isn’t a moment to waste. And Barnes knew it, so as soon as he saw his chance, he blew by a runner from Eisenhower and into the lead.


When he handed off to the next runner, Eddie Jones, the Falcons were on their way to victory in 2 minutes 20.1 seconds. Leuzinger was second in 2:20.4 and Eisenhower was third in 2:20.9.

Santa Ana Valley provided one of the highlights for Orange County athletes in the high school portion of the Sunkist Meet.

“He (the Eisenhower runner) was in my way,” Barnes said. “I had to do what I had to do. I was anxious to take the lead.”

The only remaining question after Barnes made his move was whether Leuzinger would be able to catch the Falcons.

But Brennan Lowe, Santa Ana Valley’s anchor runner, held on to win.

“I knew we had it,” Barnes said. “I just had a lot of confidence.”

Corona del Mar’s Eddie Lavelle found smoother sailing in his boys’ seeded mile race, but the race proved to be a bittersweet experience, nevertheless.

He finished second behind Andy Samuelson of Rampart High in Colorado Springs, Colo. Lavelle ran 4:23.2 to Samuelson’s 4:23.1.

Lavelle took the lead after 4 laps of the 160-yard track and moved swiftly ahead. Only Samuleson and Jimmy Rodriguez of Santa Ana Valley stayed close, and they trailed by 10 and 20 yards, respectively.

But with a little less than 80 yards to go, Samuelson pulled abreast of Lavelle and powered ahead to win.

Rodriguez was third in 4:25.8.

“I was looking to run around 4:20,” Lavelle said. “I just have to be happy with how I did and congratulate the guy from Colorado.”

Sunkist Notes

Santa Ana Valley’s winning boys’ 8 x 160-yard relay team was made up of: Ivan Dang, William Dancy, Daniel Kemp, Kenny Barnes, Eddie Jones, Justin Mills, Hung Chau and Brennan Lowe. Dancy also was second in the long jump with a leap of 22 feet 8 inches. ... The Capistrano Valley boys’ 2-mile relay team of Neil Stevenson, Brian Tucker, Bill Gould and Sean Douglas won race two in 8:25.3, beating Eisenhower (second in 8:27.9) and Camarillo (third in 8:30.4. . . . Corona del Mar’s Greg Shryock won the boys’ rated mile in 4:29.1. Shryock waited until there were 3 laps to go before moving into the lead, then held off Jamie Lugo of Valencia. Lugo ran 4:29.2 for second. . . . Kaci Keefer of Woodbridge came from behind on the last lap to win race two of the girls’ 500 in 1:11.9. . . . Laurinda Mulhaupt of Capistrano Valley, fourth a year ago, won race two of the girls’ 880 in 2:26.9. Allison Franke of Canyon, favored to win the girls’ long and triple jumps, did not compete because of a pulled leg muscle. In her place, Canyon sophomore Claire Whetlan jumped 15-7 1/4 for second.