Burbank’s Lewis Dashes Quality 800 Field in Pasadena Games

<i> Times Staff Writer </i>

Although Todd Lewis of Burbank High considers the 1,600 meters to be his best event, he defeated some of the state’s top runners in the 800 at the Pasadena Games at Occidental College on Saturday night.

Lewis, runner-up in the 1,600 at last year’s Southern Section 3-A Division championships, came from behind to win the 800 in 1 minute, 55.37 seconds.

Among Lewis’ victims were Morgan Bateman of Crescenta Valley, the defending Southern Section 4-A Division 800 champion, Eric Smith of Redlands, the fifth-place finisher in last year’s state championships, and Troy Collins of Hemet.


Running conservatively the first lap, Lewis was eighth (58.7) at the 400-meter mark. Frank Sharp of Eisenhower led in a relatively slow 58.1.

After moving into seventh down the back stretch, Lewis launched his finishing kick with 230 meters left and quickly moved into fifth before sweeping past leaders Jason Jenkins of Eisenhower and Bateman with 120 meters to go.

Though Bateman displayed an impressive burst of speed down the home stretch, he finished second in 1:55.66. Jenkins placed third in 1:56.11 with Smith fourth in 1:56.75.

Lewis, who ran 1:55.9 for 880 yards--equivalent to a 1:55.2 800--in a triangular meet at Hoover High 10 days ago, ran a 4:27 1,600 leg in the distance medley relay a half-hour after his 800 victory, anchoring the Bulldogs to a fifth-place finish.

Running the 800 to improve his speed for the 1,600, Lewis will make his first serious effort of the season at the longer distance at the Arcadia Invitational on April 8.

“I’m really looking forward to that race,” said Lewis, who has run 4:14.5 for 1,600 meters.

Charles Brown of Channel Islands and Greg Sheets of Taft also won individual events, Brown taking the 300-meter intermediate hurdles in 39.33 and Sheets soaring 14 feet, 6 inches in the pole vault.

Brown placed second in the 110-meter high hurdles (15.20) behind JacquinWebb of Eisenhower (14.94) earlier in the evening.

Sheets, runner-up in last year’s City Section championships, cleared the winning height on his third attempt before missing three tries at a personal best of 15-3.

In other events, Mike Williamson of Thousand Oaks and Craig Lawson of Granada Hills placed third and fourth in the 3,200 meters, and Cindy Byrneof Canyon placed third in the girls’ 300 low hurdles.