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PASADENA GAMES: ANOTHER MURAKAMI WIN SAUGUS RUNNER GETS 1,600 VICTORY.

Byline: IVAN OROZCO

Staff Writer

PASADENA -- Shannon Murakami doesn't care how important the race is or where it is held.

The Saugus High distance runner brings her best to every competition -- even to those she hadn't raced in two years.

Murakami showed her competitiveness Saturday by winning the girls' 1,600-meter invitational race at the 64th version of the Pasadena Games at Pasadena City College.

The UCLA-bound runner won the race with a time of 4 minutes, 53.75 seconds -- a meet record, according to Centurions distance coach Rene Paragas -- in her return to the track and field meet that was in hiatus for one year.

"Coming in today, I was hoping to have a good race," said Murakami, the CIF defending champion in the 1,600. "I wanted to take like it was a big race."

Paragas said Saturday's race helped Murakami catch up in training. Murakami missed about a week of workouts after she had her wisdom teeth pulled out in January.

"We definitely missed this meet," Paragas said. "It seems to bring out the best in (Murakami). We look at every competition the same but she comes in here and broke the 1,600 record with that time here today."

Teammate Katie Dunn finished second in 5:07.46. Oak Park's Courtney Lightfoot placed third with a time of 5:11.18.

Murakami's teammate Heather Snyder finished second in the girls' discus with a throw of 110 feet, 10 inches.

Other top performers Saturday include Cory Primm of Westlake of Westlake Village. The defending state champion placed first in the boys' 800-meter invitational, finishing in 1:50.60.

Taft of Woodland Hills' Jeshua Henderson won the boys' 300-meter invitational race in 36.47 seconds, beating last year's state champion, Diamond Bar's Terry Prentice. Henderson finished third in the 110-meter race in which he was the state's runner-up last season.

Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks had several standouts despite competing without the injured Chris Barton, the top 400-meter runner in the state.

Thaddeus Brown won the boys' 100-meter large schools B race with a personal record time of 10.95 seconds.

Zania Akeh palced first in the girls' high jump after clearing 5 feet 6 inches. Sam Demartinis placed second in the boys' shot put with a mark of 52 feet.

ivan.orozco@dailynews.com

(818) 713-3607

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Crespi High of Encino pole vaulter Justin Matoesian clears 14 feet, 6 inches to take first in the event at the Pasadena Games.

John McCoy/Staff Photographer
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 1, 2007
Words:420
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