Charles Brown of Channel Islands High was remarkably subdued for someone who had just successfully defended two titles at the Ventura County track and field championships at Camarillo High on Friday.
Although he had run his best times of the season in winning the 110-meter high hurdles and the 300-meter intermediate hurdles, Brown was not terribly excited because, he said, the really important meets lie ahead.
"A lot of the guys really get pumped up for this meet," the Raider senior said. "But it really doesn't mean that much to me. The dual meets and invitationals during the regular season really don't matter. It's how you run at the end of the season that counts."
The meets to which the Brown referred are the Marmonte League finals at Camarillo next Saturday and the Southern Section prelims, finals and Masters meet the following three weeks.
Then, hopefully, the state championships at Cerritos College in June.
"That's where I want to end up," said Brown, who has made a oral commitment to attend Cal State Northridge in the fall. "I didn't get there last year, so I want to make it this year."
After finishing fifth in the high hurdles and fourth in the intermediates at last year's Southern Section 4-A Division championships, Brown was eliminated at the Masters meet, the section's qualifying meet for the state championships.
But Brown wasn't about to be beat Friday, coming from behind to win both races.
In the high hurdles, he trailed Emory Nelson of Simi Valley for the first four flights of barriers before taking charge midway through the race to win in a wind-aided 14.31 seconds. Nelson was second in 14.39.
In the intermediates, he surged from fourth to first in the last 100 meters to defeat Jason Stein of Oak Park, 38.71 to 38.89.
"I just concentrated on getting over the hurdles as fast as possible," Brown said of his homestretch drive. "I didn't get off to a good start so that's why they were with me."
Angela Burnham of Rio Mesa was also busy defending some titles on Friday.
The reigning state champion in the 100 and 200 meters, Burnham won the 100 in a wind-aided 11.3 and the 200 in 24.46. She also anchored the Spartans' 400- and 1,600-meter relay teams to victories in times of 48.86 and 3 minutes, 55.34 seconds.
Burnham has won three county titles in the 100 and four in the 200 during her career.
Bryan Dameworth and Deena Drossin of Agoura, both two-time defending county champions in cross-country, were double winners in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters.
Dameworth won the 1,600 in 4:20.5 and the 3,200 in 9:06.8; Drossin won the girls' 1,600 in 5:03.53 and the 3,200 in 10:54.2.
After holding off Chad Malesich of Camarillo in the homestretch of the 1,600, Dameworth had to come from behind to win 3,200.
Mike Williamson of Thousand Oaks led Dameworth and Abe Valdez of Camarillo by 50 meters at the 1,600-meter mark (4:24), but couldn't maintain his blistering pace and his rivals passed him with 250 meters left in the race.
"I was surprised he went out as fast as he did," Dameworth said. "I kept waiting for him to come back to us, but when he went through the 1,600 in 4:24, I wasn't sure if we were going to catch him."
After passing Williamson, Dameworth had to withstand Valdez's final sprint.
Valdez finished second in a personal best of 9:07.0 and Williamson was third in 9:10.7.
Other winners included Shannon Wiebelhaus of Rio Mesa in the girls' 300-meter low hurdles (45.50) and Anette Noel of Agoura in the girls' shotput with a personal-best effort of 40 feet.