Hart's Medearis Breezes, Qualifies in Two Hurdles Events : Southern Section track and field: Thousand Oaks' Mortensen goes wire to wire, fighting backstretch winds for victories in girls' 1,600 and 3.200.

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Hurdler Jason Medearis of Hart High took advantage of strong winds and distance runner Kim Mortensen of Thousand Oaks overcame them to post top qualifying marks in the Southern Section Division I track and field preliminaries Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

Medearis clocked a wind-aided 13.64 seconds to win his heat of the 110-meter high hurdles by nearly a second over runner-up Levar Castillo of Lynwood (14.59).

Medearis' time was well under his season-best of 14.12, the 1975 division record of 13.94 set by Saddleback's John Peterson and the nation-leading mark of 13.94 of Kenny Haslip of Pasadena Muir.

But the performance was aided by a 3.18 meter-per-second tail wind, well over the allowable 2.0 and nullifying the mark for record purposes. Tyson Murphy of Santa Monica turned in the No. 2 qualifying mark of 14.04.

"I always wanted to break 14 (seconds) and I finally did it so I pretty much accomplished my goal," Medearis said. "I'm really excited. The wind probably made a little difference, but I felt really good."

The University of Wyoming-bound Medearis also cruised to victory in his heat of the 300-meter intermediate hurdles, running 37.97 despite easing in the final 10 meters.

It was the second-fastest qualifying time behind Haslip, the state defending champion, who ran 37.79.

The top nine performers in each event advanced to the divisional finals next Saturday at Veterans Stadium.

Mortensen, despite battling a strong head wind on the backstretch, ran to wire-to-wire victories in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters in 5:06.05 and 11:07.20.

The sophomore wasn't challenged in her 1,600 heat, cruising to a 20-meter victory over Peninsula's Jaime Artzner (5:09.40). Jessica De La Cerda of Hart turned in the second-fastest qualifying time, winning her heat in 5:07.95.

Mortensen led a pack of four through the 1,600 in 5:32 in the 3,200 before pulling away in the final 800 for an eight-second victory over Mary Nwaoguakor of Muir (11:15.24) and the second-fastest qualifying mark.

Nancy Dollar of San Clemente won the other 3,200 heat in 11:06.25, outlasting Kay Nekota of Agoura (11:08.08).

Less than an hour after the 3,200, Mortensen came back to run a leg on the Lancers' 1,600-meter relay team which timed a season-best 4:05.14 to place third in its heat and qualify for the divisional finals.

"It was hot and the wind was real strong but I just went out there and ran," said Mortensen, who was far off her best, and region-leading, marks of 5:01.27 and 10:56.32 in the 1,600 and 3,200.

"I knew I had to set the pace. Sometimes when you stay back, the pace gets too slow and I knew I would have slowed from there."

The winds were a factor throughout, registering as high as 5.56 meters per second during one heat of the girls' 200. And Pat Johnson of Redlands, assisted by the stiff breeze, ran 10.19 in a boys' 100 heat, only 0.06 seconds off the all-time high school record.

The gusts did little to affect Esa Sallinen of Burroughs. The Finnish exchange student was one of three vaulters to clear 14-0.

Sallinen passed at 12-6 and 13-0 before clearing 13-6 and 14-0 feet on his first attempt. He had the bar raised to 16-7, but missed on three attempts to break the 1988 division record of 16-6 held by Tom Richards of San Marcos.

Eleazar Hernandez of Camarillo held off Jon Bischop of Canyon by 0.71 of a second to record the fastest qualifying mark in the 3,200 in 9:23.28.

Jeremy Fischer of Camarillo was one of four high jumpers to clear 6-6 and Sarah Phelps of Palmdale was one of three over 5-3 in the girls' competition.

Dolores Tuimoloau of Channel Islands (45-0 1/4), Jamal Chase of Quartz Hill (48-5) and Kevin Fischer (4:21.63) had the top qualifying marks in the shotput, triple jump and 1,600.

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