University City High's Jerome Price needs 12 inches to break the National Federation of State High School Assns. long jump record. Fallbrook High's Brent Noon needs 10 1/4 inches to break the federation's shotput record.
Both are seniors who are down to their last two chances with the state meet that begins today with preliminaries (3 p.m. for field events, 5 p.m. for track) at Cerritos College in Norwalk. The finals are Saturday.
Both Price and Noon say they remain confident.
Price's best legal mark is 25-feet-5, just shy of the section record of 25-5 1/4 set by San Diego High's Doyle Steele in 1966 and a little less than a foot short of the national record of 26-4 3/4 set at last year's California state meet by Tulare's James Stallworth.
Price has gone on flights of 25-8 and 25-8 1/2 but with an illegal wind at his back.
Price says he should benefit from no longer running the 100 and 200 meters and 1,600-meter relay. He participated in those events all year but did not qualify for state in them.
Noon has a best put of 76-2, 10 inches short of Michael Carter's 77-0 set in 1979. Noon had been on a steady rise and appeared poised to break the record until three weeks ago, when he suffered a strained hamstring.
He said he feels fine now and expects the excitement of the state meet to pump his adrenaline and, he hopes, push the 12-pound ball to new distances.
Whether they break records, Noon and Price will be favored to win their events; both are state leaders. Noon also is going for first in the discus, in which he has a top mark of 199-7, second in the state.
Mt. Carmel's Allison Dring will contend for medals in the girls' 200 and 400. Dring's 200 time (24.43) is third best in the state, and her 400 time (54.29) is second. But Rio Mesa freshman Marion Jones, the state 400 leader, is forgoing that race to concentrate on the 100 and 200.
This makes a favorite of Dring, who ran in the state meet last year as a freshman but was awe-struck by the spectacle. This year, she said, the excitement should help.
"One thing I've always liked is when you're nervous and have lots of competition, it edges you," she said. "But last year, I was too nervous and couldn't concentrate on anything."
Dring said she will be running not to win but rather to lower her times.
"It kind of takes the stress out of it that way," she said.
The section should also be well-represented by two other underclass sprinters who have bolted to the top of the state pack the past couple weeks, Southwest sophomore Riley Washington and Monte Vista junior Latasha McKinney.
At last week's section boys' finals, Washington ran the 100 meters in 10.53, fastest legal time in California this year. In the girls' section preliminaries, McKinney clocked an 11.90, the state's third best in 1990.
Washington will also run in the 200.
"And that's his best race," Coach Carl Parrick said.
Washington placed second in the section 200 final at 21.57, behind Kearny's Darnay Scott (21.49). Parrick said Washington would have won that one, too, but got out of the blocks slowly. Scott's 200 time is fourth best in the state, Washington's fifth.
The section also has four hurdlers among the state's elite. Morse junior Chris Jones has the fourth-best 110 mark (14.38) and the fifth-best 300 (37.89). Castle Park junior Eric Bell led the section in the 110s all year until the finals, in which he placed second to Jones in 14.43, fifth fastest in the state.
Poway senior Kim Dill has run the state's fourth-best time in the 100 lows (14.19), and San Pasqual junior Erin Blunt has the state's fourth-best electronic time in the 300 lows (43.10).