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Santin Heats Up for 300 Hurdles in Time of 43.24

TIMES STAFF WRITER

One minute Friday, Frances Santin of Taft High said she didn’t care how she would perform in today’s final of the girls’ 300-meter low hurdles in the State track and field championships at Cerritos College.

The important thing was that she qualified by winning her heat.

Moments later, however, she talked excitedly about the possibility of breaking the 43-second barrier.

Such is the thinking of a sophomore who won her first City Section title last week and posted the fastest qualifying time Friday.

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“I just wanted to make the final,” Santin said after lowering her school record to 43.24. “I don’t care about tomorrow.”

Santin ran down Khameel Fleming of Dorsey in the homestretch of the City final to clock 43.47, and she used the same tactic in her heat to turn back Lisa O’Reilly of Stockton St. Mary’s (43.70), Michelle Perry of Quartz Hill (44.01) and Stacy Hebert of Buena (44.34).

Perry, who ran 42.88 to win the Division I title in the Southern Section championships two weeks ago, led for the first three hurdles, but butchered the fourth and Santin caught her by the fifth.

Santin surged into the lead by the sixth barrier and extended her advantage over the last two.

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“I wanted to run in the 42s,” Santin said. “But I’m just really happy that I made the final. I came here last year and didn’t come close.”

Although she was the top qualifier in the 300 hurdles, Santin will be not be favored today as heat winners Tisha Ponder of San Jose Del Mar, the national leader at 41.71, and Nicole Hoxie of Riverside North, 42.76, have run faster.

Miguel Fletcher of Alemany, Perry and Cheree Hicks of Littlerock each advanced to the finals in two events.

Fletcher, who has run 10.47 in the 100 and 21.06 in the 200, was regarded as a top-three contender in both races, but he looked sluggish in his heats with second-place times of 10.76 and 21.52.

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He was the fifth-fastest qualifier in the 200 and grabbed the ninth--and final--spot in the 100.

Perry was the No. 3 qualifier in the 100 highs with a season-best of 14.50, and she qualified sixth in the 300 lows.

Hebert, a two-time Ventura County champion in the 300 lows, also qualified for the final with her season-best effort.

Hicks qualified third in the shotput with a mark of 41 feet 3 1/2 inches, but her fifth-place discus mark of 145-6 was a superior performance.

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It added three feet to her personal best and moved her into a tie for third on the all-time region list with Lorraine Constanzo of Saugus, who hit that mark in 1981.

Shaluinn Fullove of Louisville, Bridget Pearson of Hoover, Liz Giltner of Chaminade and Eboni Grayson of Taft were some of the other local qualifiers.

Fullove ran a personal best of 5:00.15 to finish second in her heat of the girls’ 1,600 and Pearson was one of eight girls to clear 10-6 in the pole vault.

Pearson, a freshman who has a personal best of 11-8, might have received a break in her quest to win the state title as state leader Erica Hoernig of Santa Ana Foothill failed to make the opening height of 10 feet after clearing 12-0 3/4 earlier this year.

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Giltner, sixth in the high jump in the 1994 and ’95 State championships, cleared 5-6 to again qualify for the final.

Grayson, a sophomore, ran a personal best of 12.23 in the 100 to place third in her heat and grab the final qualifying spot.

Today’s meet starts at 2 p.m. with the girls’ pole vault, followed by the running events at 4.


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