Ed Presbury of Loara hit warp speed Thursday. Running the 400 meters in the Empire League finals at Rancho Santiago College, Presbury needed only 49.88 seconds to rocket past a strong field.
As recently as two weeks ago, Presbury had been strolling past the finish line in a rather ho-hum 52 seconds. But Thursday came the breakthrough, when he pulled away from Jimmy Hutsell and Scott Elkin of Cypress in the final 50 meters to post his most impressive victory.
Hutsell was second in an excellent 50.03 with Elkin third at 50.76.
That victory was eye-catching enough, but Presbury also won the 100 in 11.09 and the 200 in 22.53 to complete a difficult triple.
Presbury thought victories in the 100 and 200 might be possible, but "not in the 400 because Hutsell is such a good runner."
Plus, "In league meets, I'd only been running 52-53 seconds," he said.
Presbury plans to run all three races at the Southern Section 3-A preliminaries May 16 at Trabuco Hills High.
"I like the 200 . . . well, actually, I like the 400 better; it's my race now," Presbury said.
Kristy Kierulff, a freshman at Esperanza, was the only triple winner in the girls' meet, taking the high jump (5 feet 2), the long jump (16-11) and the triple jump (33-7). She helped lead the Aztecs, who scored 204 points, to the girls' team championship over Katella (122) and El Dorado (60).
Esperanza also won the boys' team championship with 149 1/2 points. Katella (117 1/2) finished second and Cypress (105) third.
Two juniors, Esperanza's Shawn Frack and Katella's Mike Love, certainly did their part to make things close, splitting victories in two distance races. Frack kicked away from Love in the final 200 meters to win the 3,200 in 9:48.65. Love's time was 9:49.58. Earlier, Love flew past Frack in the final meters to gain a narrow victory in the 1,600 in 4:24.45. Frack was a scant .05 behind.
Katella's Brian Carlson had a personal-best of 6-8 in winning the high jump, but he's still No. 2 on the family's all-time list. His older brother, Kevin, set the Orange County record of 7-1 at last year's State meet.