Boys track: Sprenger springs to finals

May 11, 2002

Richard Dunn

WALNUT - They knew it was only a matter of time before David

Sprenger would really spring one in the boys long jump.

Slowed by an early-season ankle injury, the Newport Harbor High senior

competed most of the dual-meet season with only one, maybe two attempts

on a gimpy right ankle.

"Our goal at the beginning of the year was for him to reach the high


(22-foot mark), so it's gratifying to get to the original goal," Newport

Harbor jumping coach Nowell Kay said Friday night at Mt. San Antonio

College, where Sprenger leaped a personal-best 22 feet, 3 inches to

qualify fifth in the CIF Southern Section Division II Preliminaries.

Not knowing what to expect and how his ankle would hold up, Sprenger

soared on his first attempt to advance to next Saturday's CIF Division II

Finals at Cerritos College.

"I felt good today, and luckily I jumped far on my first jump, because

I don't know what (my ankle) would've been like after that," said

Sprenger, the only Newport Harbor boy to qualify for the postseason's

next level.

Sprenger, who intends to be a walk-on jumper at the University of

Montana next year, said he was nervous before the competition, but felt

an incredible sense of relief following his first jump.

"I was real pumped up about it," said Sprenger, the first Newport

Harbor long jumper to qualify for the CIF Finals since Dan Gerlach four

years ago. "I really thought I'd be doing this well earlier in the

season. Luckily, I hit a big jump on a big day."

Kay believes Sprenger can go farther. "He gets another week to try and

get that high 22-foot mark," Kay said. "We knew he could reach 22 feet,

but we just didn't know if his ankle would be sound enough."

Sprenger was a lone bright spot in terms of qualifying, although the

Newport Harbor 1,600 relay of Matt Tracy, Zach Zarnow, Peter Bas and Adam

Kerns ran a season-best 3:28.5, finishing fourth in a heat.

In the 3,200, Harbor's Alec Urtu went 9:52 and teammate Nick Miller

10:22, but neither advanced. Urtu, who went 10:01 at this year's Pasadena

Games, was clocked in 9:48 last year in the CIF Prelims, when he was a


Tracy, a sophomore, was 25th overall in the 400, finishing seventh in

the fourth and final heat in 52.26.

The Tars' 400 relay of Kerns, Sprenger, Joel Walker and Pete Bas was

timed in 44.02 and did not qualify. Newport's Dartangan Johnson, the

anchor of both relays, was ruled academically ineligible and could not

compete, Newport Harbor boys coach Bim Barry said.

In the 800, Newport's Noe Perez struggled with muscle spasms in his

hips over the last 200 yards and finished 10th in his heat in 2:06.43.

Newport Rion McKinney came up short in the shot put (48-3), while

teammates Jeff Marshall (132-0) and David Marshall (129-0) did not

advance, but reach their personal best in the discus.

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