Sprinter Exceeds Expectations

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Focus your athletic energy on one sport. Train harder. Run faster.

Allyson Felix of L.A. Baptist High figured if she accomplished the first two tasks, the third would take care of itself.

But the soft-spoken sprinter never expected to win the state championship in the 100 meters and place second in the 200 when she began training in September for her sophomore track and field season.

Felix, The Times' Valley/Ventura County girls' athlete of the year, won Southern Section Division IV titles in the 100 and 200 last year and surprised herself with a seventh-place finish in the 200 in the state meet.

But no one, except perhaps sprint coach Jonathan Patton of L.A. Baptist, expected her to contend for state titles in the 100 and 200 this year.

After all, Porchea Carroll of Rio Mesa was the state's fastest returning sprinter in the 100 at 11.60. Felix had a best of 12.19.

Felix ran an impressive 23.90 in the 200 last year in her first competitive season, but was the No. 5 returning sprinter in the state in that event.

So how did she lower her bests to 11.53 in the 100 and 23.31 in the 200?

By dropping basketball, working hard on the track and in the weight room, and letting her natural ability take over.

"You got to remember that we're talking about a girl who didn't run her first track workout until February of last year," Patton said. "When she first started working out, I thought, 'Either I have the distance wrong or my watch is wrong.' She was running so fast so quickly."

The increased focus and hard work paid off during the indoor season. Felix ran 24.06 to place second in the 200 in the Nike Indoor Classic in Landover, Md., on March 11.

She opened the outdoor season by winning the 100 in 11.82 and the 200 in 24.05 in the Northridge-Alemany Relays on March 17.

That was followed by winning times of 11.82 and 23.77 in the Pasadena Games on March 31 and 11.83 and 23.48 in the Arcadia Invitational two weeks later.

Felix, whose older brother Wes was a standout sprinter for Valencia this season, finished a distant third in the 100 behind senior Monique Henderson of San Diego Morse and junior Angel Perkins of Gahr in the Mt. San Antonio College Relays on April 21.

But she finished second to Henderson in the 200 in a career-best 23.31 that moved her to fourth on the all-time region list and qualified her for next week's USA Track & Field outdoor championships in Eugene, Ore.

She won the 100 and 200--and ran legs on the victorious 400 and 1,600 relay teams--in the Southern Section Division IV championships on May 19 before winning the 100 in 11.53 and placing second in the 200 in 23.40 in the Masters meet six days later.

The 11.53 clocking indicated that she was capable of winning a state title.

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ALL-REGION GIRLS' TRACK AND FIELD TEAM

FIRST TEAM

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Name School Year Event Allyson Felix L.A. Baptist Sophomore 100, 200 meters

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The girls' athlete of the year won the 100 and placed second in the 200 in the state championships to cap a season in which she ran 11.53 in the 100 and 23.31 in the 200.

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Name School Year Event Treani Swain Oakwood Sophomore 400, 800 meters

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Swain ran 55.1 in the 400 and 2:10.54 in the 800, the latter giving her second place in the state final. She won the Southern Section Division IV title in the 800.

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Name School Year Event Anita Siraki Hoover Senior 1,600, 3,200 meters

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The 2000 athlete of the year won her third consecutive titles in the 1,600 and 3,200 in the Southern Section Division I finals and finished second in the 3,200 in the state meet in a career-best 10:11.79. She had a best of 4:44.75 in the 1,600.

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Name School Year Event Brynne Steward Cleveland Junior 100-meter HH, 300 LH

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Steward led Cleveland to a runner-up finish behind Birmingham in the City Section championships by winning the high and low hurdles. Her bests of 14.58 in the highs and 45.25 in the lows were the fastest in the region this season.

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School Event Rio Mesa 400-meter relay

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Junior Kristen Hirashima and seniors Porchea Carroll, Kyelynn Chiong and Jaclyn Grentzer ran fifth in the state championships after winning the Southern Section Division II title. Their best was 47.12.

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School Event Birmingham 1,600-meter relay

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Sophomores Vincetta Mendola and Vonnie Fulford, and freshmen Renee Winston and Erica McCoy won the City title in a season-best 3:53.87 and broke 3:59 three other times.

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Name School Year Event Schquay Brignac Taft Senior High jump, Long jump

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Washington State-bound Brignac won an unprecedented fourth consecutive City title in the high jump and finished seventh in the state meet. In the long jump, she won her first City title and finished seventh in the state meet. She had a best of 5-9 in the high jump and 18-11 1/4 in the long jump.

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Name School Year Event Melissa Astete Birmingham Senior Pole vault

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Astete, who signed with USC, won a record fourth consecutive City title and tied for second in the state championships. She cleared a region record of 13 feet to win the Arcadia Invitational.

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Name School Year Event Kierah Figueroa Lancaster Senior Triple jump

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Figueroa, sister of 1993 state champion Cheaza Figueroa of Quartz Hill, won the Golden League title and had a best of 37-1 1/4.

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Name School Year Event Natalie Valenzuela Rio Mesa Senior Shotput

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Valenzuela won the Southern Section Division II title to help the Spartans to a runner-up finish. She won the Ventura County title and placed seventh in the Masters meet with a career-best 40-5 1/2.

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Name School Year Event Alexis Fredrick St. Bonaventure Senior Discus

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The runner-up in the Ventura County championships placed third in the Southern Section Division IV final. Her season best was 124-8.

SECOND TEAM

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Name School Year Event Porchea Carroll Rio Mesa Senior 100 meters, Long jump Sierra Hauser-Price Notre Dame Senior 200 meters Alysia Johnson Canyon Freshman 400, 800 meters Jaclyn Pedersen Royal Senior 1,600 meters Laura Jakosky Agoura Senior 3,200 meters Schquay Brignac Taft Senior 100-meter HH, Triple jump Kiyota Reed Highland Senior 300-meter low hurdles

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Cleveland, 400-meter relay (Marisha Hatchell, Senior; Michelle Stinnette, Junior; Danielle Stinnette, Junior; Dana Rattler, Sophomore)

Canyon, 1,600-meter relay (Jazmin Treadway, Junior; Brenda Stevens, Sophomore; Alysia Johnson, Freshman; Alisha Thompson, Freshman)

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Name School Year Event Emily Forsythe Crescenta Valley Senior High jump Michelle Rivera Birmingham Junior Pole vault Alexis Fredrick St. Bonaventure Senior Shotput Natalie Valenzuela Rio Mesa Senior Discus

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