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Records fall at IVL track finals

May 10, 2001|By TOM RONCO, Special to this newspaper

BRAWLEY — Attempting to qualify as many athletes as possible for the San Diego Section CIF track and field competition, the six Imperial Valley League schools met on a hot afternoon and evening here yesterday.

The meet, which local coaches thought for most of the season meant little besides determining who would get all-IVL medals for first, second and third places, took on a new dimension last week when local coaches found out that times and distances their athletes accomplished during the season did not qualify them for San Diego CIF competition, only league meet marks did.

"We had no representation at the initial meetings because the league did not appoint one," said Brawley coach Don Biagi. "And then the San Diego CIF did not send anything over to us. Fortunately, I called and they told me about the league meet only rule so we were prepared for today."

The IVL league meet could well have been nicknamed "The Record Meet" as meet records fell in 12 of 14 girls events and four boys events.


That many record performances is even more impressive considering the field events started at 12:30 p.m. and the final running event started about 8:30 p.m. The mental and physical prowess of the athletes was certainly tested.

"Given the heat, performance-wise this meet was a success," said Central Union High coach Ron Shane. "For these young people to be in the heat all day and still set records was going above and beyond the call."

The afternoon sun did not bother Brawley's Marquita Travis or Cynthia Flores, who both set IVL meet records in two field events.

Flores dominated the throwing events, setting IVL marks of 34 feet 10.75 inches in the shot and 101-4 in the discus.

Travis, who would garner a meet high three IVL marks when she added the 100-meter high hurdles (16.24 seconds) title, took the triple jump (35-5) and the long jump (16-4).

"I was just jumping and it felt good," said Travis, a senior, of her long jump win. "I already had first place won so I just jumped and it felt good."

While no records were set in the boys field events, the events were not without some strong performances.

In the high jump, Central's Jerrel Henderson outleaped Calexico's Nathan Armstrong by 2 inches to win with a jump of 6-2."I just wanted to get first place. It was the only thing on my mind," said Henderson.

There were other things on Armstrong's mind, such winning the long jump, which he did with a leap of 20-11.

"I put a little more practice into the long jump and I did better in it," said Armstrong.

A motivated Armstrong has set his sites on going over 23-3.75 in this, his senior year.

"That's the record my dad (Calexico coach Cal Armstrong) holds in Imperial," he said. "That and the 4x100 kept me going."

In the running events, Southwest High's Erica Holmes and Brawley's Silvia Mendez both set two IVL meet records, dominating the sprints and distances, respectively.

Holmes won the 100 (12.86) and 200 (26.09), setting the meet record in both races.

"I was confident that I would qualify but didn't think I could set records," said Holmes.

"Last year, Krystle (Dunning of Central) and I tied for the 200. Since she was a senior and I was freshman, I told her to take the title."

Holmes continued, "But it was frustrating and then you just work hard all year and today it paid off."

Mendez not only set records in the 1,600 (5:41.29) and 3,200 (12:26.49) races, the marks she erased were her own set last year.

"I was excited but I think I could have done better in the mile," said Mendez a senior. "It's kind of scary that I would be back next year but I hope to be running in college."

Southwest's Jennifer Black won the 300 hurdles (51.72) after finishing second in the 100 hurdles. She said the meet brought out the best in herself and others.

"I was excited today to have a chance at CIF," Black said. "And I was nervous but the other girls kept encouraging me and we were all encouraging each other and it was great."

Brawley's Danitza Salceda broke her own record in the 800 in 2:32.66, not bad for a sophomore.

"This year was exciting," said Salceda. "It was totally unexpected because I hadn't gotten that time all year and to do it today was awesome."

The boys side featured two young men trading victories and records in the 100 and 200.

Brawley's Marcellus Edwards shot out of the blocks in the 100 and nosed out Southwest's Terrance Johnson, Calexico's Jose Chavez and Central's Anthony Hellum to win in 10.46.

Hellum then took the 200 in 22.69 just .05 seconds over Edwards (22.74), with Johnson third.

Asked if there was a "sprint rivalry," Hellum and Edwards grinned at each other and acknowledged it.

"I expected it from the Kiwanis," said Hellum, referring to Edwards' victory over him at the Kiwanis Central Relays. "But Terrance really surprised me with a great race."

"I pretty much knew he (Hellum) would be there but Chavez surprised me in the 100," said Edwards.

Hellum sees an advantage to having a number of good sprinters in the Valley.

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