Making a run to state

Burbank Leader

NORWALK — While his classmates were walking up to the podium to the sounds of "Pomp and Circumstance," Greg Dotson was barreling down a running track to the sound of a starter's pistol.

While his peers at Burbank High were celebrating the ending of their high school experience, Dotson was attempting to extend his prep athletic career.

With the Burbank graduation happening earlier than usual this year, the event Friday took place at the same time Dotson was taking part in the boys' 800-meter race at the CIF Southern Section Masters Meet at Cerritos College.

Despite having to miss his own graduation, Dotson was at the track and field meet in an attempt to qualify for state competition.

Not only did he advance to the state meet, but he also broke a coveted Burbank school record that had stood for 36 years.

In a competitive race where all 12 entrants met the state-qualifying standard, Dotson placed second in 1 minute, 50.38 seconds to set a new personal mark. The race was won by Placentia Valencia's Sean Krinik, who ran a blistering 1:49.18 to set the fastest time in the nation this year.

Also competing in the meet was Burroughs sophomore Anthony Monroy in the boys' 3,200. Unfortunately for Monroy, he wasn't able to qualify for state competition.

Despite having to miss his graduation, Dotson wanted to run Friday.

"I would rather be here," Dotson said. "This is where I wanted to be."

After getting close to breaking John Muisch's school record set in 1974 several times this season, Dotson knew the Masters Meet race would be his best chance to eclipse the mark.

"I knew I just had to do it today," said Dotson, who broke the old mark by .02 seconds. "It means a lot to me to get a record like that. I've been working hard to get the record."

Dotson beat Muisch's time of 1:51.0 in the 880-yard run, which when converted to meters, gave him the record.

The Bulldog runner will compete in CIF-State Track and Field Championships, which take place next Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium on the campus of Buchanan High in Clovis.

"Now that I got the school record out of the way, I can concentrate on just placement at state," Dotson said.

The last Burbank athlete to qualify for state completion was Kyle Ivie. During his senior year in 2003, Ivie took part in the boys' 1,600, placing ninth in 4:21.17.

Dotson, who has the second-best time in the state this season in the 800 behind Krinik, should be one of the favorites in the race.

Dotson will be looking to join an elite group of Bulldogs who have won state titles.

The school's first title was won by Bob Pierce in the boys' 120-yard high hurdles in 1959 (14.3). Muisch won the boys' 880 championship in 1974 (1:51.0) and Jeff Nelson captured back-to-back titles in the boys' two-mile in 1978 (8:59.29) and in 1979 (8:47.35).

In Monroy's race, he placed 11th in a personal-best time of 9:18.42. The race was won by Elias Gedyon of Loyola in 8:56.37. The qualifying standard was 9:10.42.

Monroy said he was happy to be at the meet.

"It was a great experience for me," said Monroy, who was the 2009 All-Area Male Cross-Country Runner of the Year. "I didn't expect to make it this far, but to be able to run here was great."

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