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STATE JUNIOR COLLEGE TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS : Valley’s Clarke Ignores Injury, Claims Lead in Heptathlon

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Despite a lingering ankle injury, Valley College freshman Melanie Clarke took the lead in the heptathlon with 3,011 points through four events in the state junior college track and field championships Friday at Santa Barbara City College.

Kings River’s Edwina Ammonds, the No. 1 Northern California entrant, is second with 2,876 points and Marji Gilles of Glendale is fifth with 2,381.

“It’s still tender, but it felt well enough,” Clarke said of the right ankle she sprained severely two weeks ago in the Southern California preliminaries. She entered the meet with the top mark in the competition with 4,921 points, set last month.

Clarke was in sixth place after the first event, running the 100 hurdles in 16.05 seconds to pick up 708 points. She trailed Ammonds, who ran the fastest time at 15.15, by 114 points.

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But Ammonds’ lead proved to be fleeting. Clarke cleared 5 feet 8 inches in the high jump to pick up 891 points and take a 30-point lead. Ammonds placed second at 5-3 1/4.

Clarke, a former El Camino Real High standout, increased her advantage after turning in the top marks in the shotput (35-6) and 200 meters (25.61).

Through five events in the decathlon, Ryan Rapoza of Ventura and Gil Carrillo of Moorpark are in fifth and six place with 3,323 and 3,305 points, respectively. Chris Shelton of Long Beach leads with 3,859. Carrillo had the best mark in the long jump with a leap of 21-7 1/2.

The women’s 5,000 and the men’s 10,000 meters were the only finals contested Friday. In the 5,000, Tricia Mathiesen of Moorpark placed 10th in 18:35.4, 1 1/2 minutes behind winner Diana Tracy of El Camino.

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The heptathlon and decathlon will resume today at 9 a.m. Field events will begin at 3 p.m. and running events at 6.


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