SPEED RACERS: City Section 100 Meters champion DeAnthony Thomas (Crenshaw), left, and 200 meters champion Tevin Carter (Santee) will attempt to catch defending state champion Randall Caroll during the CIF state meet this weekend in Clovis.Â Speedsters head to Clovis for prep season's final championship
With the CIF track-and-field state championship preliminaries starting tomorrow at Buchanan High School in Clovis, here's what you need to know heading into the weekend.
Can anyone catch up to Cathedral senior Randall Carroll?
The state's fastest teenager will look to defend his crown in both the 100 and 200-meter sprints after winning the 100 (10.59 seconds) and finishing second in the 200 (21.62) at the Southern Section Masters Meet. He ran faster times, however, at the CIF Divisional Finals (10.39/20.93) on May 22.
Crenshaw sophomore DeAnthony Thomas (10.60/21.61 split at the LA City Section finals) and Santee junior Tevin Carter (10.61/21.38) will do their best to hang with the UCLA-bound sprinter.
Carter surprised many by upsetting Thomas in the 200 and with his long strides; he could give Carroll a push down the stretch. Both ran personal bests at the City Section finals and it will take even faster times to threaten Carroll's repeat.
Will Gardena Serra's 4 x 100 relay squad make this weekend a preview for next year?
Marcus Johnson, Devin Spann, Anthony Carpenter and Robert Woods have blitzed everyone in their path and at the Masters Meet, they became the first team in the state to run a sub-41 minute time this year (40.74).
There's a slight chance the foursome could approach the school record of 40.54 on Saturday but if not, they'll happily settle for a state title - something the school last won in 2000. Their main completion will come from Cathedral, Crenshaw and two-time defending state champion Long Beach Poly.
Woods will also contend in both the 200 and 400 - the latter will be spent chasing down the Masters Meet champion and state favorite, Riverside La Sierra senior Reggie Wyatt.
Now for the scary news. All but Carpenter will be back next year which could motivate them to put everyone else on notice for 2010.
Is the girls 400-meter race the most competitive race of the meet?
For sheer subplot, there may be nothing better than the headliners of the 400 where Serra senior Turquoise Thompson narrowly beat Long Beach Poly sophomore and defending state champion Akawkaw Ndipagbor at the Masters Meet (53.45-53.77)
Â Thompson starred at Poly for two years as the 400-meter standout before transferring to Serra prior to Ndipagbor's freshman campaign. Both girls also trained under Serra girls track coach Lori Smith-Thompson for several years.
Both are also coming in with motivation. Ndipagbor wants to keep her state title after losing her first 400 race and Thompson looking to end her individual career on top after tripping on the next-to-last hurdle in the 300 hurdles at the Masters.
"[Ndipagbor] is going to run her race and I'm going to try and do the same," Thompson said.
How will the local City Section representatives fare?
Well, we already looked at DeAnthony Thomas and Tevin Carter in the sprints but the City athlete with the best chance to win an individual event would be Taft junior D.J. Morgan, who enters Friday's prelims with the best 110-meter hurdle time (14.00).
Crenshaw senior Moriah Johnson will earn points in the high jump and the Cougars will also contend in both relays. They will be the only City school that may have a decent showing in the overall point totals.
According to Weather.com, it will be a humid, cloudy weekend with temperatures on Friday night (prelims) and Saturday night's finals near the 60's.
The prelims start at 5 p.m. on Friday with three heats for each event except for the 3200-meter races. The finals start on 6 p.m. on Saturday.