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Former CSUN Hurdler Myers Resurfaces as Sprint Champion for Spain

Quincy Watts of USC and Darcy Arreola of Cal State Northridge are the most recognizable local athletes in the latest edition of Track & Field News, which previews the World Championships in Tokyo, Aug. 24-Sept. 1.

But Sandra Myers of Spain--that’s not a misprint--is the former local athlete who has been picked to finish higher than either Watts or Arreola in their respective individual events.

Myers, 30, is a former U. S. record-holder in the women’s 400-meter low hurdles. She won that event and the long jump for Cal State Northridge in the 1980 Assn. of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women championships.

When the Northridge women’s track program dropped to the NCAA Division II level in the fall of 1980, Myers ran for the L. A. Naturite Track Club in 1981 and won the 400 hurdles in The Athletics Congress meet that year.

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She disappeared from the U. S. track scene a few years later--moving to Spain in the mid-'80s--before resurfacing in 1988 as a 200- and 400-meter sprinter for Spain.

After failing to rank among the top 100 sprinters in the world in 1988 and ’89, Myers set Spanish records of 22.38 seconds in the 200 meters and 51.01 in the 400 last season.

Her rapid improvement has continued this season. She has lowered her personal best in the 400 to 49.67 and is picked by Track & Field News to finish fourth in that event in the World Championships. She is tabbed to place seventh in the 200.

Watts, a three-time state sprint champion at Taft High, is picked to finish eighth in the men’s 400. He also is expected to win a gold medal as a member of the United States’ 1,600-meter relay team.

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Arreola, this year’s NCAA Division I champion in the women’s 1,500, is considered a longshot to make the 12-women final in her event.

Trivia question: When Watts ran 44.98 in the 400 to place third in the TAC championships in June, he became the 50th athlete from the United States to have run under 45 seconds (with fully automatic timing) in the 400 and the first from the Valley area.

Who is the former standout from the region who had the best time before Watts?

No mas: Arreola does not plan to run in any cross-country meets this fall, and it is not because her track season has lasted longer than usual.

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Rather, she is not enamored of cross-country and does not plan to compete in the sport now that her collegiate eligibility has expired.

“I think I’ll run better in track when I don’t have to run cross-country,” she said. “If I don’t run cross-country, I think I’ll have a better chance to train for track. . . . I won’t have to ease off in training for certain races. I can just train straight through.”

Arreola made those remarks in an interview last fall before the Division I cross-country championships--in which she placed 12th--and she is even more adamant about the subject as she looks forward to the 1992 track season and the Olympic Trials in New Orleans.

“Cross-country is definitely out,” Arreola said. “Trying to make the Olympic team in the 1,500 is all I’m thinking about future-wise right now.”

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Rule changes: In a move that will affect Cal State Northridge track athletes during the 1991-92 school year, the NCAA Executive Committee passed a recommendation over the weekend that athletes no longer can use performances posted during the indoor season as qualifying marks for either the NCAA Division I or III outdoor championships.

Qualifying marks for the indoor championships must now be posted between Dec. 1 and March 8; March 1 through May 22 (Division III), or May 28 (Division I), will be the qualifying periods for the outdoor meets.

Previously, any performance posted by an athlete after Nov. 31 could be used as a qualifying mark for the outdoor championships.

Northridge, which completed its first year at the Division I level in the NCAA outdoor championships in June, will field an indoor team for the first time this winter.

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Gone fishin’: Want to know one of the differences between recruiting track athletes for Division I compared to Division II?

Just ask Northridge Coach Don Strametz.

Before this year, Strametz had been forced to wait until late July and early August to sign the majority of his athletes--many of whom had been passed over by Division I schools.

That did not happen this time around; Strametz--an avid fisherman--has been on vacation for the past two weeks. With Northridge’s first season of Division I competition completed, Strametz and assistants Tony Veney and John Frazier found it easier to sell the school to prospective recruits and signed 17 athletes (nine men and eight women) to letters of intent before the end of July.

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“It’s nice not having to wait for the July-August rush this year,” Strametz said earlier this summer. “That’s a nice change.”

Nate Wright of Merritt College (51.62 in the 400-meter intermediate hurdles), Marc Harisay of San Jose City College (55 feet 5 inches in the shotput) and Anthony Bartley of Lynwood High (48-4 in the triple jump) were the leading Matador recruits on the men’s side.

Tamika Bradfield of Compton Dominguez High (11.71 in the 100, 23.94 in the 200), Nicole Logan of Novato High (45-0 1/2 in the shotput, 134-0 in the discus) and Teresa Stricklin of Arroyo Grande High (43-10 1/4 in the shotput, 145-1 in the discus) top the list of incoming women athletes.

Trivia answer: Mike Larrabee--a 1952 graduate of Ventura High--ran 45.15 to win the 400 in the 1964 Olympic Games in Tokyo.

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Larrabee, who ran for USC as a collegian and for the Southern California Striders after that, won a second gold medal in the ’64 Games as a member of the victorious 1,600-meter relay team.


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