Miguel Fletcher of Alemany capped a superb high school career with runner-up finishes in the boys' 100 and 200 meters in the state track and field championships at Cerritos College on Saturday.
Yet he seemed more relieved than pleased after posting times of 10.50 seconds in the 100 and 20.97 in the 200 before 11,163 in his final appearance in the state meet.
"I'm just glad state is over," Fletcher said. "All the hype is done. I can go home and get some sleep."
Fletcher, who will attend USC, was competing in the state finals of the 100 and 200 for the third consecutive year, but it was the first time he was regarded as a serious title contender.
"I tried not to think about it but it was hard not too when I was just sitting around the house," Fletcher said. "My mom just told me to relax, but it wasn't easy."
Fletcher, who finished second in the 100 and third in the 200 in the state meet last year, placed second to two juniors from team champion Long Beach Poly.
Darrell Rideaux won the 100 in 10.43 and Kareem Kelly took the 200 in 20.76, fastest in the state this year.
Rideaux, Fletcher and defending state champion Justin Fargas of Notre Dame ran stride for stride for the first half of the 100, but Rideaux and Fargas began to inch away from Fletcher.
Fletcher was able to reel in Fargas--who finished third in 10.58--at about 80 meters, but there was no catching Rideaux, who placed third last year.
The 200 wasn't close because Kelly, running in lane five, made up the stagger on Fletcher in lane six after 70 meters.
"He got out," Fletcher said of Kelly. "We both knew were going to have to run to win."
Long Beach Poly, led by the first-place finishes of Rideaux, Kelly and the 400 relay team in 40.45, totaled 42 points to defeat second-place Gardena Serra by 14 and win its second consecutive title and seventh overall.
Fremont Mission San Jose was third with 20 points, followed by Taft at 18 and Alemany at 16, with Fletcher scoring all the points.
Junior Blaine Bussey accounted for half of Taft's points by placing third in the 400 in 48.11, running the third leg on the fourth-place 400 relay team that timed 41.74 and running a 46.7-second anchor leg on the 1,600 relay team that placed second to Compton Dominguez in a region-record 3:13.21.
The time broke the region record of 3:13.65 set by Simi Valley in the 1987 state championships.
Bussey ran a career best of 47.49 to lead qualifying Friday, but fell five meters behind the leaders after 200 meters in the final and couldn't to make up the difference.
Senior Ryan Meuse of Simi Valley surged from eighth to fifth in the final 130 meters of the 800 to clock a season best of 1:54.20.
Junior Tim Adrian finished fifth in the discus with a school record of 183-6.
Taft's girls had a rough day.
The Toreadors were regarded as a top contender after scoring a record 112 points to win their first City Section title last week, but tied for 34th with four points.
Long Beach Wilson, which set a national high school record of 3:36.32 in the 1,600 relay, and Moore League rival Long Beach Poly tied for first with 42 points.
Taft sophomore Deneeka Torrey suffered an ankle injury during a heat of the 1,600 relay Friday night and things didn't get much better Saturday.
The Toreadors, with junior Tiffany Smith subbing for Torrey, finished sixth in the 400 relay in 47.19. That was followed by a ninth-place finish by senior Frances Santin in the 100 high hurdles in 15.07, a seventh by sophomore Jayda Bailey in the 400 in 56.29 and a sixth by senior Eboni Grayson in the 100 in a wind-aided 11.81.
Santin finished fifth in the 300 hurdles in 42.79, but Grayson was ninth in the triple jump at 36-11 1/4 and withdrew from the 200.
The Toreadors pulled out of the 1,600 relay because Bailey became ill after the 400.
Freshman Schquay Brignac of Cleveland, who was previously undefeated this season in the high jump, was one of four girls to clear 5-8 but she had to settle for fourth place because it took her three attempts to clear that height while the others did it on their first or second jumps.
Junior Lauren Fleshman of Canyon finished fourth in the 3,200 meters with a season best of 10:38.65.
Junior Bridget Pearson of Hoover, defending state champion in the girls' pole vault who was hampered by a lower-back injury, finished seventh at 11-4.