Poway’s 400-meter relay team was as hot as the 100-degree weather at the Escondido Invitational last night.
A Titans foursome of Will James, Jarod Turnage, Brandon Lucas, and Lance Mudd flawlessly passed the baton and covered the toasty, all-weather layout in :41.62, fourth fastest time in California this year.
It is rarefied air for the Titans, whose previous best was :42.02, and for San Diego Section squads.
No County teams have gotten under 42 seconds since a Reggie Bush-anchored Helix quartet blazed :41 flat in 2003. At that time there had been 18 teams which had run at least :41.44.
The Section’s all-time best is :40.66 by sprinters from University City in 1998.
High schools dropped the 880-yard relay in 1968 and went to the 440 and mile races, followed by the move to 400 and 1,600 meters with the U.S. switch from yards to meters in 1980.
The best 880-yard relay team still is the 1963 San Diego team of Walter (Budda) Blackledge, Gordon Baker, Raymond Dixon, and Charles Sanford. That group ran a perfect half mile in 1:26.3 and won the state championship at Berkeley by almost five yards.
San Diego-area teams seldom run the now metric 800 relay.
It would have been interesting to see what the U. City and Helix squads could have negotiated in the mid-distance sprint and what that group of Cavers could have achieved in the 400.
The Highlanders, in 2003 with Bush, ran a leisurely 1:28.7 at Mt. San Antonio in an infrequent attempt at the distance.
TITANS POTENTIAL RIVALS
Poway is expected to get a challenge from Helix in the upcoming section meets. The Highlanders have a hand time of :41.8 and a :41.97 fully automatic.
According to Athletic.net, the state leader is Temecula Great Oak at :41.33.
Mission Bay is reported second in the state with a :41.44. That mark seems very shaky, although the Buccaneers, with no history of great speed, allegedly ran ran that hand-converted time in a dual meet with Kearny at Clairemont on April 18.
Other state leaders include Upland, :41.57; Los Angeles Loyola, :41.58; Gardena Serra, :41.64; Fresno Edison, :41.64, and Long Beach Poly, :41.76.
Poway’s Lucas improved the section lead in the 200 meters to :21.56, tenth fastest in the state, and threw a shot across the bow at Scripps Ranch’s Brian Thomas and Mt. Carmel’s Tobe Ezeokoli with a :48.39 in the 400.
Scripps Ranch’s Brian Thomas is the section leader at :48.18. Ezeokoli has run :48.26.