BURBANK — With Greg Dotson running some of the fastest times in the nation this season in the boys' 800 meters, many figured the Burbank High senior would go deep into the track and field postseason.
However, the question persisted: Could another area athlete find continued success alongside Dotson?
That question was answered Saturday in the CIF Southern Section Track and Field Championships at Cerritos College.
Not only was Dotson able to do well and qualify for Friday's CIF Southern Section Masters Meet at Cerritos College, but he will be joined at the competition by Burroughs High sophomore Anthony Monroy, who is moving on in the boys' 3,200.
Providence High freshman Marylin Petrov wasn't able to advance in the girls' 100 hurdles.
True to form, Dotson — who is headed to UC Santa Barbara — put forth another fine effort, battling strong winds to win his Division I race in 1 minute, 50.42 seconds and capture a CIF championship. It was a personal-best time for Dotson, .027 seconds away from a school record and the fourth-fastest high school time in the nation this year.
"It was windy and that definitely took a lot out of the race," Dotson said. "I was trying to break the school record, but I ran my exact PR with all that wind."
Biding his time early, Dotson made his move to the front of the pack at about the 300-yard mark and boldly set a fast pace for the race.
"He executed our strategy to a T and ran what he's capable of doing," Burbank Coach Trevor Marca said. "He didn't let the wind bother him or anything else, he just went out and took care of business and did an awesome job."
By the time Dotson entered the back stretch, he had an insurmountable lead and was able to simply focus on his time.
"I was listening for footsteps to push me, but I didn't hear any there and I heard the announcer say, 'Dotson all by himself up front,' " Dotson said. "I said, 'Alright, let's see how fast I can go by myself.' "
Dotson said the race went exactly according to his plan, as he let two other runners set the early pace, but was able to pass them at the most opportune time.
"He wanted to take the lead out, but you can't go in with one plan — take the lead at any cost — because there might be others who also have that same plan in mind," Marca said. "Two guys took it out pretty hard as well, so I told him before the race, if that happens, go ahead and sit behind them, but you need to make sure to get the lead by a lap. He did and it was pretty much over at that point, it was just a matter of how fast he'd run."
Dotson is the first athlete from Burbank to win a CIF championship in track and field in 21 years. Standout Todd Lewis captured a title in the boys' Division 3A 1,600 in 1989 with a 4:11.44 effort.
The win sets up an interesting matchup in the Masters 800. Dotson will likely be going head to head for the title with Sean Krninik of Valencia of Placentia. Krninik, the defending state champion, won his Division II race with a 1:49.77, the best time of the meet.
"I'm really excited," Dotson said. "It's always a show when me and [Krninik] race. That will be fun. Hopefully then, I'll get my school record."
In the Meet of Champions in Match at Azusa Pacific University, Krninik won his Invitational Heat of the 800 in 1:50.16 and Dotson was second in the race in 1:50.49.
In the Masters race, there will be only four runners who have times faster than 1:52 from the finals. Along with Dotson and Krninik, Ray Noble of Valley View ran a 1:51.81 and Myles Andrews of Long Beach Poly had a 1:51.89 in the Division I race.
In his 3,200 race, Monroy qualified for the Masters Meet by a razor-thin margin. He placed fifth in 9:22.18 to finish fifth in Division I. He made the final spot by three-hundredths of a second.
Monroy, who is an accomplished distance runner, was the 2009 All-Area Male Cross-Country Runner of the Year.
Petrov is the first athlete from Providence to make the CIF finals in at least two decades. She placed seventh in her Division IV 100 hurdles race in a personal-best time of 16:62.
"I told her to be able to finish her last race this season with her best time is a great accomplishment," Providence Coach Michelle Boucher said. "I'm very proud of her.
"The competition was really tough in her race."
Petrov was also the Delphic League champion in the 100 and 200.