“Speed City” is a term applied to Indianapolis for obvious motorized reasons, but when it comes to people-powered performance on a running track, the city with the most speed in our slice of the country is Goleta.
Four sprinters from Dos Pueblos High have recorded some of the fastest relay times in the CIF Southern Section, which has more than 570 member schools. Cliff Lekas, Patrick Smith, Isaiha Brown, and Steven Scarvelis have burned their way into the CIF Division II Finals on Saturday (May 23) at Cerritos College.
They are the leading qualifiers in the 4400 relay -each runner carrying the baton a lap-with a blistering time of 3:19.8 in the CIF Prelims last weekend. It was the second time they shattered the school record that was set in 1986. The foursome also has broken a 23-year-old record in the 4100 relay with a clocking of 42.01 seconds at the Channel League Finals. They qualified fifth in the CIF last week in a time of 42.27.
Brown has the best raw speed of the quartet-he is also a finalist in the individual 100 meters-but they all attack the 400 with equal verve. In last week’s relay, Smith ran a 400 split of 49.20 seconds, Brown 49.80, and Scarvelis 49.91. Lekas ran the leadoff lap out of the blocks in 50.90 with a bee sting on the top of his foot. “It was swollen up like a beach ball,” said Smith.
“If Cliff doesn’t get us the lead at the start, which he always does, Patrick will take the lead for sure,” Scarvelis said. “Isaiha will hold it, and I try to bring it home.”
The Chargers appear to be the class act of their division in the longer race-“Nobody was close to us in the prelims,” Smith said-and they expect to test themselves against the best when all divisions come together in a state qualifying meet on Friday, May 29.
All but Lekas, a junior, are seniors at DP. Smith is a gritty competitor who finished second in the Arcadia Invitational decathlon earlier in the year. Scarvelis is a tall and strong athlete who may have descended from ancient Olympians.
“I’m third-generation American, but I still feel the Greek in me,” said Scarvelis. He traces his ancestors back to Crete and Sparta. Athleticism runs in the family. Steven also has set a school record in the 300 hurdles (38.53) and is a contender for the CIF title in that race. His younger brother Nicholas, a sophomore, unleashed a school-record discus throw last week (174²9³) and also qualified for the finals in the 12-pound shot put (57²).
Coach David Kuderka has generated enthusiasm for track and field at Dos Pueblos, and this year’s confluence of talent is the result.
GAMES OF THE WEEK: Dos Pueblos won the Channel League baseball championship and will be hosting a first-round game in the CIF Division II playoffs at 3:15 p.m. today (Thu., May 21) :
UC Irvine, the nation’s top-ranked college baseball team, comes to town for a three-game series against UCSB (2pm Friday, 1pm Saturday and Sunday). The Gauchos need to win the series to have any hope for a postseason bid, but Irvine’s Anteaters are a remarkable 20-1 in Big West Conference games.
GAMES OF NEXT YEAR: The NCAA has chosen UCSB to host the 2010 College Cup, the Final Four of Division I soccer. The games will be played December 10 and 12 at Harder Stadium, where the Gauchos have led the nation in soccer attendance the last two years. It will be the first time UCSB has staged an NCAA championship since 1981, when Karch Kiraly led UCLA to the volleyball title at the Events Center. The Gauchos, winners of the NCAA soccer crown at St. Louis in 2006, hope to be among the four semifinalists on their own turf.
SHORT AND LONG OF IT: Several noteworthy running events are coming up: The Platinum Performance State Street Mile (sbmile.com) on Sunday, May 31, is a downhill romp in downtown Santa Barbara. The Blue Canyon Trail Race (bluecanyontrailrace.com) on Saturday, June 6, includes three challenging ultra marathons (50k, 50 miles, and 100k) in the backcountry; a $25 donation will be accepted for the Los Padres Forest Association. Another race on June 6 is Vicki’s 3,000 on the track at SBCC’s La Playa Stadium; the entry fee is $8 and will benefit the Special Olympics. See sbrunning.org.