They’re Throwing Their Weights Around : Track and field: Esperanza’s trio is responsible for three of the county’s top four shotput marks this season.


Asked to name a few personal highlights of the 1990 track and field season, Esperanza High School shotputters Mike Burns, Mark Kinney and Mark Parlin glanced at one another with bored looks and shrugged as if the question had no relevance.

Despite making up the most successful shotput trio in the Southern Section, and perhaps the entire state, Burns, Kinney and Parlin act as if they do not get much joy from their sport. In fact, Burns and Kinney seem to treat it with a certain degree of disgust.

“There are no highlights in track,” Kinney said with a sneer. “We hate track.”

Said Burns: “It’s at the bottom of my list.”


Parlin admitted he liked track, but then took a considerable ribbing from his partners.

“I do (like it),” Parlin said. “It’s all right.”

Perhaps that’s why Parlin, a 6-foot-1, 220-pound junior, has the superior marks of this bunch. His best toss, 61 feet 4 inches, an Empire League record set Thursday, ranks first in the Southern Section and second in the state.

Kinney, a 6-4, 235-pound senior, has a best of 57-5 1/4. Burns, a 6-2, 220-pound junior, has gone 55-9 1/2. They rank first, second and fourth in the county, respectively, and Thursday they swept the top three places at the Empire League finals to help Esperanza win the league title.

All three also compete in the discus, with Parlin leading the way at 175-3, the second-best mark in the county this year.

Despite their claims of disliking the sport, Kinney, Burns and Parlin do enjoy what they’re doing, says Bill Pendleton, Esperanza’s shotput coach.

“They just love to complain,” Pendleton said. “Like Burns, he told me all year he wasn’t going to come out and the first day of practice, he was out there. No one’s forcing them.”

Well, not technically. All three play football--Parlin started at fullback last fall, Kinney and Burns at linebacker--and all three compete in track, they say, because Pendleton, an assistant football coach, encouraged them to come out as freshmen.

“I’m made to do it. That’s the only reason,” Burns said.

Pendleton, 37, who in 1987 won a national age-group title in the shotput, has supervised Esperanza’s strength program for 13 years, and has been coaching the shotputters for the last five. He says every year he combs the freshman weight class, picking out the 10 biggest ninth-graders in an effort to strengthen Esperanza’s ranks in the shotput and discus.

And Kinney, Burns and Parlin have contributed significantly. In the last two years, Esperanza has been undefeated in all shotput relays--events in which three shotputters on the same team combine their best marks of the day for a total score. At the Poway Invitational, they set records in both the shotput and discus. At the county’s oldest track meet, the Tustin Relays, their combined score ranked second to Edison on the all-time list.

Saturday at San Clemente High, they led Esperanza to its third consecutive victory at a weight-lifting competition this season.

Kinney squatted 550 pounds in competition Saturday and has bench-pressed 365. On first impression he seems to fit the high school football player stereotype.

Kinney, who says his goal is to reach 60 feet in the shotput and place in the state meet, also wants to try to concentrate more on his studies.

Burns, who along with Kinney hopes to become a police officer, has the best speed of the three. Last year, he won the frosh/soph league title in the 100 meters, and has 4.6 speed in the 40. He wasn’t pleased with his third-place mark of 48-9 1/4 at the league meet Thursday.

“I’ve been disappointed lately,” he said. “My PR (personal record) fell seven feet. I should be able to get out of bed and throw 50 feet. . . . I have the school record in choke.”

Pendleton, who said he expected Burns to perform as he did Thursday because he has yet to take an extended rest from training, called Burns “a little more psycho than the others.”

In short, Burns has been known to eat moths.

Parlin is not nearly as extreme. As the first county shotputter to throw more than 60 feet since Kaleaph Carter of Edison in 1988, Parlin says he hopes to win the Southern Section title at the sectional championships May 18, and is aiming for a second place finish at the state meet in June.

Fallbrook senior Brent Noon, the nation’s prep shotput leader this season at 73-3 1/2, isn’t expected to be challenged at the state level. Of course, with Noon graduating in June, Parlin’s chances for a state title look better next year.