Dorsey's Gettis Puts His Stamp on the 400

Dorsey's Gettis Puts His Stamp on the 400
NO. 1: Dorsey’s David Gettis is the first athlete to win three state championships in a row in the 400. (Gary Friedman / LAT)
David Gettis of Los Angeles Dorsey, the fastest 400-meter runner in the world under the age of 18, ran his event only six times this season.

Each time, he won. Each time a championship was on the line, he ran a personal best.

Not bad for a 17-year-old senior who started to participate in track only as a sophomore.

"I've come from a nobody who didn't run track to dropping a second [off my time] each year," he said.

Gettis won his third consecutive state 400 championship with a time of 45.84, a national best for the year.

He also helped Dorsey win the state team title by running legs on two victorious relay teams.

He never wavered from the constant pressure of high expectations. Every opponent was gunning for him. Some fans showed up to meets solely to watch him perform.

Gettis, selected The Times' boys' track and field athlete of the year, never disappointed even though he was bothered much of the year by a nagging hamstring injury.

His biggest challenge was a mental one, "myself getting over" the injury, he said.

"I'm definitely proud to finally hit 45," he said. "I got home and I was sitting back thinking, 'Man, I could have run faster.' "

The 6-foot-3 1/2 , 198-pound Gettis is the first athlete to win three consecutive state titles in the 400.

"It's definitely an honor to be the only one, because there's been so many great runners in California," he said.

Gettis also won his second consecutive City championship with a record time of 46.08.

And, in probably his toughest race of the season, he held off his heir apparent, sophomore Bryshon Nellum of Long Beach Poly, to win the Arcadia Invitational.

Gettis will go down in history as one of the best athletes to come out of Dorsey, a school that has produced its share of remarkable athletes through the years.

He was an All-City receiver and defensive back for the Dons' football team and will play football and run track at Baylor, which has produced the last two Olympic champions at 400 meters.

He has his eyes on making the U.S. Olympic team in 2008.

"It's looking extremely realistic," he said.

Even though he'll be leaving for Waco, Texas, in August to start his college career, Gettis said, "I'm always going to be a California boy."




Jamere Holland, Taft; Jr.; 100, 200

Finished undefeated in the 100 and 200, winning L.A. City Section and state titles. National leader in the 100, having run 10.38 twice, and ranks fourth nationally in the 200 at 20.92. Upset J-Mee Samuals of North Carolina, considered the nation's best sprinter, at Arcadia Invitational.

David Gettis, Dorsey; Sr.; 400

With a nation-leading time of 45.84, Gettis became the first male runner to win three consecutive state 400-meter titles. Undefeated as a senior, he was also part of the Dons' winning 400 and 1,600 relay teams at state.

Travis Bradford, Fremont; Sr.; 800

A two-time City 800-meter champion, Bradford upset favored runners to finish second at the state meet.

Mark Matusak, Loyola; Sr.; 1,600

Battled nagging injuries throughout season but came through with a state-leading 4:07.94 to win the Southern Section Division II race, then won state title by nearly three seconds, running 4:10.72.

Michael Cybulski, Royal; So.; 3,200

With less than 100 meters left in the state 3,200, Cybulski led but looked to be in trouble. However, a burst of speed helped him pull away from Matusak and win by more than three seconds in 9:02.57.

Robert Williams, Ramona; Sr.; 110 HH

Peaking at the right time, Williams won the Division II title in 14.21 and the Masters meet in 14.06, then upset David Klech of Danville to take the state title in a personal-best 13.97.

Darrayl King, Oxnard; Sr.; 300 IH

Out of the spotlight for much of the season, King won the Division I and Masters meets and finished fourth at state.

Dorsey; ; 400 Relay

(Courtney Williams, Sr.; David Gettis, Sr.; Keith Charles, Sr.; Marquise Charles, Sr.) After winning the City title in a conservative 41.92, the Dons won the state title in 40.92, making them the fifth-fastest team in the nation.

Dorsey; ; 1,600 Relay

(Vannie Prudhomme, Sr.; Marquise Charles, Sr.; Courtney Williams, Sr.; David Gettis, Sr.) The Dons won the state title by 4.09 seconds, running 3:12.12. Earlier in the year, they won at Arcadia in 3:11.94 — a time that ranks the team second in the nation.

Kenneth Medwood, Roosevelt; Jr.; High Jump

Virtually unknown before the City preliminaries, Medwood won the City title at 6-6, then cleared a personal-best 6-7 to make the state final, where he placed fourth at the same height.

Johnny Quinn, St. Margaret's; Jr.; Pole Vault

Won the Division IV title at 15-6 and placed second at the Masters' meet at the same height before becoming the Southland's only athlete to reach the state final, where he finished seventh.

Andre Crenshaw, Antelope Valley; Jr.; Long Jump

Won the Division I title at 23-4 but barely qualified for state out of the Masters. Won at state at 22-8, the shortest winning distance in 51 years.

Richard Sherman, Dominguez; Jr.; Triple Jump

Was certainly not well known when he won the Division II title at 47-10 1/2 , but after a first-place jump of 49-5¾ in the Masters' meet, his fourth-place finish at state was no surprise.

Danny Rohr, Arroyo Grande; Sr.; Shotput

The latest in a long line of outstanding weightmen from Arroyo Grande won the Division II title at 60-1 1/2 , the Masters' meet at 60-1 and the state title at 60-6 1/2 .

Aaron Dan, Estancia; Sr.; Discus

Was third in the Division I final, moved up to second in the Masters meet with a throw of 185-10 and placed second at state with a near-personal best 191-9.

Coaching Staff of the Year: Dorsey

Head coach: Ralph Tilley. Assistants: Paul Knox, Kerry Hogan, Stan Johnson and James Robertson. Tilley and his staff helped the City Section win its first state championship since Taft in 1986.



Rodney Glass, S.O. Notre Dame; Jr.; 100

Wes Williams, Esperanza; Sr.; 200

Bryshon Nellum, Long Beach Poly; So.; 400

Colin Campbell, Ventura; Sr.; 800

Joe Gatel, Edison; Sr.; 1,600

Mark Matusak, Loyola; Sr.; 3,200

Jordan Paul, Loyola; Sr.; 110 HH, 300 IH

Long Beach Poly; ; 400 Relay

(Adrian Brown, Sr.; Vincent Joseph, Jr; Travon Patterson, Jr.; Isaiah Green, So., Bryshon Nellum, So.)

Long Beach Poly; ; 1,600 Relay

(Travon Patterson, Jr.; Bryshon Nellum, So.; Donn Thompson Jr., Sr.; Ellis Anderson, Jr.)

Donn Thompson Jr., Long Beach Poly; Sr.; High Jump

Greg Woepse, Mater Dei; Jr.; Pole Vault

Marcel Keeling, Gardena Serra; Sr.; Long Jump

Josh Como, Rancho Verde; Jr.; Triple Jump

Averill Spicer, Rancho Cucamonga; Sr.; Shotput

Danny Rohr, Arroyo Grande; Sr.; Discus