By Jon D. Gaede
Cerritos - The early morning hours of May 24th, 2003 were overcast and cool.
Like thoroughbred horses in the paddock, the pristine track & field athletes of J.W. North High School gathered around coach Leathers for a few words of wisdom.
He calmly told Gayle Hunter and Lena Bettis to begin warming up and then report for their triple and long jump competitions. He then turned his head the other direction and informed super senior Ashlee Brown (Penn State bound) to gather her 400m relay team and begin to warm up.
Coach Leathers has been here before, however, he could not have predicted the success and dominance his girls would experience and dish out over the next few hours.
Principal Dale Kinnear, friends, and family members were on hand to witness athletic competition and superiority at the highest level in many years.
Some 40 schools fielded competitive track teams for the CIF Southern Section final. There were several impressive individual performances during the day.
Athens may be too soon, but look out for L.A. Baptist's Allyson Felix to hit the national scene in a couple of years. Only a junior, Allyson won the 100m, 200m, and anchored her 400m relay team to a new national record of 47.64. Former nine time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis was very impressed by her times and hopes she goes to college and takes her time.
Moreno Valley's DeAna Carson scored all 30 of her teams points as a freshman. Riverside King's Orlisha Henlon won the Division 2 title on the high jump at 5-4.
Saving the best for last, led by Ashlee Brown who won the 100m, 200m, 400m relay and took second in the 300m low hurdles, the Riverside J.W. North girls track team beat the next nearest team by 99 points!
They won the CIF Southern Section Title with 136 points over Woodbridge who scored 37 points for second.
The sun was shining brightly as Brown, Hunter, Bettis, Ward, Manning, Tupour all scored in multiple events and Coach Leathers calmly accepted another title in a career that has seen so many.
Jon Geade can be reached at 909.640.0874
|< Prev||Next >|