Long Beach Teams Dominate
Is it possible to set a national high school record and not celebrate it?
It was for the Long Beach Wilson girls’ 1,600-meter relay team at the state track and field championships at Cerritos College on Saturday.
The Bruin foursome of juniors Latrice Borders, Joni Smith and Kim Gildersleeve and freshman Lashinda Demus set a national record of 3:36.32 before 11,163 to beat the previous best of 3:37.38 set by Long Beach Wilson in 1996, but they were frowning afterward because Moore League rival Long Beach Poly tied them for the team title by finishing second in the same race.
“It feels good to get the record, but it’s not exciting because we should have taken state,” Gildersleeve said. “This hurts. Nobody beat us but ourselves.”
Wilson, which beat Long Beach Poly, 84-74, for the Southern Section Division I title on May 23, was favored to win its second outright state title in three years, but defending champion Poly tied the Bruins with 42 points.
Senior Bumni Ogunleye placed second in the long jump at 19 feet 1 3/4 inches and sophomore Blessing Ufodiama finished second in the triple jump with a wind-aided 39-6 1/4 to help Poly win a share of its fifth title in the last seven years.
Gildersleeve led Wilson with a second-place time of 2:10.39 in the 800, but the Bruins didn’t do as well as expected in the 100, 200, 400 and 300 hurdles.
Long Beach Poly, led by 100 champion Darrell Rideaux, 200 winner Kareem Kelly and the victorious 400 relay team, totaled 42 points to win its second consecutive boys’ title and seventh overall. Gardena Serra was second with 28 points.
Rideaux timed 10.43 in the 100, fellow junior Kelly clocked a yearly state-leading time of 20.76 in the 200 and the Jackrabbits ran 40.45 in the 400 relay.
Senior Angela Williams of Chino, Track & Field News’ 1997 girls’ national high school athlete of the year, won the 100 in a wind-aided 11.10, the 200 in a national-leading 23.02 and the long jump with a wind-aided 19-7 3/4 to single-handedly lead the Cowboys to a third-place total of 30 points.
The USC-bound Williams, who won her second consecutive title in the 100, moved to seventh on the all-time national performer list in the 200 and became only the fourth girl to win three individual state titles in the same year and the first since Marion Jones won the 100, 200 and long jump for Thousand Oaks in 1993.
There were four double winners in the meet.
Senior Jon Stevens of Fremont Mission San Jose won the boys’ 800 and 1,600, senior Natasha Neal of Union City James Logan took the girls’ 100 high and 300 low hurdles, senior Stephanie Brown of Arroyo Grande placed first in the girls’ shotput and discus and freshman Sara Bei of Santa Rosa Montgomery won the girls’ 1,600 and 3,200.
Stevens, who clocked 1:52.07 in the 800 and 4:12.58 in the 1,600, became the first athlete to win that double since Earl Lockhart of Sacramento ran 1:59.0 in the 880-yard run and 4:31.6 in the mile in 1923.
An event schedule that has the 800 an hour after the 1,600 makes it an extremely difficult double, but it should also be pointed out that between 1926 and 1969, doubling in distance races was prohibited at the state championships.