Tina, Sherri and Denean Howard came to town and helped Kennedy High run off with the girls’ title in the state track and field meet.
They were the 4-H Club while setting national track records at San Gorgonio High in San Bernardino in 1979: Howard, Howard, Howard and Howard.
Denean, Tina, Sherri and Artra Howard, all extraordinarily talented sprinters, combined to produce some extraordinary times in the 400- and 1,600-meter relays.
But there were changes afoot for the Howards.
In early 1980, the Howard family moved to Granada Hills. And the foursome was now reduced to a threesome. Artra’s graduation and enrollment at Pierce College left Sherri, a senior; Tina, a junior; and Denean, a sophomore, who resumed their careers at Kennedy High.
Three Howards were still plenty.
With the Howards contributing to four national high school records, Kennedy won the girls’ state track and field title.
The Golden Cougars, behind the three Howards and Kelley Cook, set a national mark of 3 minutes, 37.98 seconds in the final event, the 1,600 relay, to win the meet.
Kennedy also set national records in the 400 relay with Sheryl Thompson, Tina, Denean and Sherri (45.81); the 200 (23.19) with Sherri; and the 400 with Denean (53.04).
Tina, normally overshadowed by her more acclaimed sisters, was the center of attention afterward. Tina turned 17 that day. “This is the best birthday I could ever have hoped for,” she said, shedding tears of triumph.
Postscript: In the 1980 Olympic Trials, Sherri won the 400 meters and Denean finished third, but the United States boycotted the Moscow Games. In 1984, Denean and Sherri were members of the U. S. 400 relay team that won an Olympic gold medal. In 1988, Denean placed sixth in the 400 meters in Seoul and was a member of the second-place 400 relay team.
Notable: Linda Fratianne, a 19-year-old from Northridge, finished second in the ladies figure-skating competition of the Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N. Y. East Germany’s Anett Poetzsch won the event with 189 points to edge Fratianne, who scored 188.3. . . .
Cal State Northridge won its third consecutive Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women Division I track and field championships at the University of Oregon. Alice Brown won the 100 meters and ran on the victorious 400 relay in Northridge’s last meet at the Division I level. . . .
Brown duplicated her 100-meter victory in the Olympic Trials a month later, but she was overshadowed by Northridge teammate Jodi Anderson, who won the long jump (22 feet, 11 1/2 inches) and the pentathlon (4,697 points) and placed fourth in the 100 (11.52). . . .
Darryl Butler scored 18 points to lead Taft High’s basketball team past Jordan, 74-60, in the City Section 3-A Division final. . . .
Sylmar High won the City Section baseball title. Coach Denny Thompson’s Spartans defeated North Hollywood, 6-2, behind pitcher Jeff Salazar and shortstop Oscar Mejia. . . .
Behind the hitting of Roger Hanson and pitching of Chuck Yeager, Rio Mesa High won the Southern Section 1-A baseball title. . . .
Quarterback Mike Owens led Van Nuys High to a share of the City 3-A title by passing for 2,081 yards and 24 touchdowns and rushing for 13 touchdowns. Van Nuys and Narbonne tied, 14-14, in the championship game. . . .
Duane Bickett had a memorable football season at Glendale High, catching 47 passes for 581 yards as a tight end and averaging 12 tackles as a defensive end. Bickett is now an All-Pro linebacker with the Indianapolis Colts.