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Carpinteria High Hosts 100th Russell Cup

Which Future Olympians Will Compete in This Saturday’s Track & Field Meet?

Larry Stark of Carpinteria High wins the 220-yard dash at the Russell Cup track meet in 1970 (above right). Competing in the 100th Russell Cup on Saturday will be Carpinteria junior Victor Rinaldi (above left), winning a 400-meter race last week in 51.21 seconds.

Track and field is a special sport at Carpinteria High. Head Coach Van Latham and his staff know how to run a meet efficiently. They carefully record for posterity the Warriors’ records in every meet. They are carrying on a tradition that goes back to the dawn of prep athletics in California.

In 1913, Carpinteria held a track meet pitting hometown schoolboys against Ventura counterparts. It was well received, and the next year, Mr. and Mrs. Howland Shaw Russell donated a silver cup as a prize for winning teams. The 1914 meet became known as the Russell Cup, and it has been held every year (except for a hiatus during World War II) to the present day. This Saturday, April 13, the 100th Russell Cup will take place at Carpinteria Valley Memorial Stadium.

In its long history, the meet featured five future Olympians, from Lompoc’s Nick Carter — who won the Russell Cup mile in 1920 and ran in the 1928 Games at Amsterdam — to sprinter Allyson Felix, who raced as an L.A. Baptist freshman in 2000 and went on to become the most decorated U.S. female track athlete with nine Olympic medals (six gold and three silver) from 2004 to 2016.

Frank Wykoff was a Carpinteria schoolteacher when he ran an exhibition 100-yard dash at the 1934 Russell Cup, two years before he won his third gold medal on the U.S. 4×100 relay team. The Frank Wykoff Trophy is awarded to the boys’ 100-meter champion.

Since 1968, the Russell Cup has maintained a small-school format. Carpinteria itself produced two of the best prep milers of the century, state champions Tom Grewe (1982) and Coley Candaele (1990). Grewe will be among the legendary athletes in attendance Saturday. Others include Bob Looney, the 1959 state champion pole vaulter from Santa Barbara High, and Sari Small, who was among the first female athletes to compete in 1960.

Memorabilia will be on display at Saturday’s meet, and a post-meet barbecue in the gymnasium will be an occasion to bring up many memories. To learn more, visit russellcup.com.

BOSTON BATTALION: If you wonder where all the road runners have gone this weekend, the answer is Boston. Fifty runners from Santa Barbara and Goleta are registered to run in the 123rd Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15. It’s not enough to put the granddaddy of all road races on your bucket list; you have to achieve a reasonably swift qualifying time. Rusty Snow and Mike Swan, coaches of the Santa Barbara Running and Racing team, will lead a pack of 41 to the starting line in Hopkinton. A dozen of them, ages 48-62, could potentially run national-class times, Snow said. But it’s not an event where you can count on a fast time. The conditions can be cold, wet, and windy.

GOING VERTICAL:  The Sam Adams Multi-Events meet at Westmont College’s Thorrington Field last weekend produced a world-leading high jump of 2.31 meters (7′6 ¾″) by Canada’s Mike Mason. Grenada’s Lindon Victor, a member of the Santa Barbara Track Club, broke his national record in the pole vault by clearing 4.90 meters (16′¾″). 

EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOSE:  Base-running, slugging, and pitching carried UCSB’s nationally ranked baseball team to a three-game sweep over visiting Stephen F. Austin last weekend. Tommy Jew stole home for the deciding run in a 3-2 victory when the Gauchos managed only two hits; Kyle Johnson’s walk-off grand slam capped a five-run rally in the 11th inning of a 14-12 win Saturday; and freshman left-hander Rodney Boone did not allow a hit until the eighth inning of a 7-0 shutout Sunday. The Gauchos (23-5) will host UC Irvine (21-5) in a Big West showdown series this weekend. The opening game is Friday, April 12, at 3 p.m.

TRAILBLAZER:  Emma Foster, a 7th grader at La Colina Junior High and baseball infielder/pitcher in Santa Barbara’s Pony League, will play this weekend in the Trailblazer Series, sponsored by Major League Baseball as one of the activities surrounding Jackie Robinson Day. About 100 girls ages 11-13 from around the nation will take part in the event at the MLB Academy in Compton. Besides playing ball, they will meet with women’s baseball pioneers, including former players from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. “Emma grew up with baseball,” said her father, Michael Foster, who played at Westmont College. “My uncle [Brian Asselstine] was a major leaguer. We ask her about softball, and she says, ‘It’s not baseball.’”

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