TRACK AND FIELD / SOUTHERN SECTION CHAMPIONSHIPS : Bell Gardens’ Granville Sets U.S. Mark in 800


There is such nobility in solitude.

And Michael Granville of Bell Gardens High found much of it Saturday at the CIF Southern Section interdivisional track and field finals at Long Beach Veteran’s Stadium.

Granville was so far in front of the rest of the field in the Division I 800 meters that he seemed to be running the race alone.

Granville’s winning time of 1 minute 48.98 seconds broke the national sophomore record of 1:50.8, which was was shared by William Contee of Woodson High in Washington D.C., who ran the time in 1976, and Fred Bronner of Morris Hills High in New Jersey, who ran it in 1983.


Granville’s time was the fastest time in the nation this season by 1.89 seconds and also broke the Southern Section Division I record, set by Eddie Davis of Compton in 1981, by 0.45 seconds.

Granville burst out to a blazing start, putting an insurmountable distance between himself and the rest of the field. The second-place finisher, Matt Teeson of Ayala, crossed the finish line 4.69 seconds after Granville.

“I was just overwhelmed with every step I took,” Granville said.

So was the crowd of 8,210, which applauded loudly when Granville’s time flashed on the scoreboard.

In April, Granville won the 800 at the Arcadia Invitational for the second consecutive year. He also was the Track and Field News high school indoor athlete of the year this season.

Granville’s training method resembles the way he runs races: in solitude. Granville does not train with the Bell Gardens track team but trains with his father, also Michael Granville, at a nearby park.

Granville’s father, who ran the quarter- and half-mile at Cal State Northridge in 1975-76, said he trains his son on grass because “it makes you work harder.”

Last year, Granville set the national freshman record in the 800 with a time of 1:51.03.

Granville had extra motivation on Saturday because he found out shortly before running the 800 that he had been scratched from the 200.

An Accutrack malfunction at the preliminaries last weekend forced a run-off of six different races, including the 200, at Gahr High on Thursday. But after a misunderstanding between officials and Granville’s father, Granville didn’t attend the 200 run-off and was scratched from the final.

Before the 800 final, Granville’s father had some words of advice: “Get so far ahead that there’s no doubt who won,” he said.

Apparently, Granville took the advice to heart.

Ken Haslip of Pasadena Muir won the 110 high hurdles in 14.21 and the 300 low hurdles in 36.87, breaking the Division I record set by Yki Vallery of Hawthorne in 1987 by 0.01 seconds.

Muir also won the 1,600 relay in 3:18.32 and won its second-consecutive Division I boys’ team title with 65 points.

Morningside won its third consecutive boys’ team title, this year in Division III, with 78 points.

Other winners: Division II, Arroyo Grande, 57 points, and Division IV, Serra, 84 points.

In the girls’ competition, Aminah Haddad of Long Beach Poly won the 100 in 11.81 and the 200 in a record 23.23, breaking the Division I record set by Paulette Blalock of Compton in 1984 by 0.31 seconds.

Haddad also ran the anchor leg of the winning 1,600 relay to lead Poly to its third-consecutive Division I team title with 82 points.

The Morningside girls won their fifth consecutive team title, this year in Division III, with 78 points. Other winners: Division II, Esperanza, 50 points, and Division IV, Cate, 46 points.