Girls track and field: Harbor receives rave reviews

March 29, 2001

Steve Virgen

NEWPORT BEACH - Who would've thought Newport Harbor High girls

track and field Coach Eric Tweit could make like a Broadway show


Before his Sailors began their first home meet, he called a quick

meeting. First he needed "stage hands," as he designated girls to take

care of the long jump pit and hurdles events. Then, he gave a simple good


show speech.

"Those of you in the (400) relay and 1,600 get ready to perform," he

told his girls.

And with that the Tars turned in a showstopping performance as they

defeated visiting Laguna Hills, 88-48, Wednesday in Sea View League


Newport (6-0, 2-0), ranked No. 5 in CIF Southern Section Division II,

finished with 11 first-place efforts.

Harbor senior Amber Steen acted as the star as she won the 800-meter

(2:21.8), 1,600 (5:35.0) and 3,200 (11:59.0). Steen, who set the national

record in the 1,600 (4:50.2), wants her final year to be memorable.

"It's my last year, so I want to go out with a bang," Steen said.

She eased her pace in the 1,600 to encourage freshman teammate Lauren

Paul who finished second. Paul, perhaps playing the understudy, said she

was grateful for Steen's help.

"It was really nice of Amber to stay with me," Paul said. "It's very

important. She's one of the top runners in the state and for to help me

out ... I'm just starting out. It's my first time out here."

Though Steen won three events, she did not run as hard as usual.

"Because Amber ran such a quality race Saturday," Tweit said. "There's

no way, she can run hard in every dual meet. This is like a workout for


If Amber was the star of the meet, sophomore Amy Burlingham took the

spotlight when she won the 100 (13.1), 200 (26.2) and anchored the

victorious 400 relay (51.5).

Patty Vasquez, Ashley Harrison, Nadia Topalovic and Burlingham gave

way to a dramatic finish as Burlingham leaned to earn the close victory.

Burlingham said the relay team had never been challenged like that.

"We just remembered they beat us last year," Burlingham said of the

team's motivation.

Topalovic also won the 300 hurdles (49.5), while Emily Turner took the

high jump (4-foot-10). Harbor's Evita Castillo won the long jump (15-1),

Elizabeth Clayton took the triple jump (32-10 1/2) and Taylor Govaars won

the discus (79-9).

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