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2 Swifties Running El Camino Toward SCC Track Crown

El Camino usually has a strong women’s track team, so the fact that it can finish with a perfect South Coast Conference record with a victory over Cerritos today is no shock.

The Warriors, who placed second to Mt. San Antonio in last year’s state meet, are 3-0 in the SCC and the core of their strength lies in the middle-distance events.

Well, actually their strength lies in speed demons Laura Ainsworth and Sharette Garcia.

Ainsworth, a 5-foot-7, 121-pound sophomore, is the state’s top 400-meter hurdler (59.41). She also holds the state’s second-best time in 400 meters (54.99) and the 100-meter hurdles (14.78), and she anchors the 400-meter and mile relay teams.

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She set her 400-meter and 400-meter marks last Saturday at the Aztec Invitational at San Diego.

“That’s the way it was last year,” said El Camino track Coach Dave Shannon. “Laura had a great season, but she couldn’t even walk toward the end of it because of a stress fracture. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that she’ll stay healthy.”

Garcia is the state’s fastest 1,500-meter and 800-meter runner. The freshman from Manual Arts High beat Janice Sellon, the 5,000-meter state champion from Mt. Sac, in a 1,500-meter race this season. Garcia clocked 4:42.1. Her top 800-meter performance (2:16.4) was in late February at Long Beach.

“Unfortunately she’s limping now,” Shannon said. “I guess stress fractures are in this year. Hopefully she’ll be in full force by spring break.”

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After today’s final SCC meet against the Falcons, El Camino will compete in invitationals until the conference meet at the end of April and the Southern California meet at the beginning of May.

The El Camino men’s track team, smaller than in recent years, isn’t doing as well. The Warriors are 1-2 in the SCC with a conference victory over Pasadena and losses to Mt. Sac and Long Beach. They’re led by distance runner Carlos Carbajal, the Warriors’ No. 2 man in cross country. The freshman holds the state’s second-best time in 5,000 meters (14:50.7).

El Camino has been aided by sprinter Khevin Pratt and freshman middle-distance runner Elaon Wallace. Pratt has run a 21.3 200-meter race and a 48.7 in 400 meters. Wallace’s best time in the 800 meters is 1:55.2.

The El Camino golf team got off to a good start in conference considering the Warriors haven’t had a golf program in five years and Coach Al Greenleaf had to round up an all-freshman team at the last minute.

The Warriors are 3-0 after defeating Pasadena, 385-393, Long Beach (412) and Cerritos (435) on their home course in Palos Verdes.

“If ever you have a chance of winning in golf,” said Greenleaf, who was the golf coach at El Camino for 25 years before the program was canceled, “it’s at home. You have to win at home because the home course advantage is tremendous.”

Archie Uenishy knows that well. He led El Camino with a 73. Brian McLaughlin shot 75 and Tom Henninger 78.

Talk about strategy, El Camino basketball Coach Ron McClurkin and assistant Bill Becktel had a great plan before Saturday’s victory over Riverside in the Southern California Regional bracket final.

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They wanted to give their players photos of Riverside’s players so that they could engrave in their minds whom to focus on defensively and whom to avoid on offense.

“Unfortunately,” Becktel said after the game while staring at the white card in his hand, “we couldn’t get pictures so we had to give them these little cards with the guys’ names and heights. This one’s David’s (Keeter). He gave it to me after the game and said, ‘Coach, what should I do with this now? Should I give it to the guy and tell him, ‘I think it worked.’?”


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