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GARNIC FLASHES HER OLD FORM.

Byline: Kirby Lee Special to the Daily News

Asthma, allergies or poor mechanics, Kim Garnic of La Canada High has not been able to pinpoint the cause of breathing problems that have limited her training and caused dismal race performances.

The malady, however, was not a factor for the junior in the Mt. San Antonio College Invitational on Friday.

Garnic clocked 18 minutes, 41 seconds to place fourth in the Girls' Division III Sweepstakes race to return to the form of her sophomore season, when she placed fourth in the State Division IV championships.

``I needed this race to get my confidence back,'' Garnic said.

Garnic's confidence hit its lowest point in the Kenny Staub Invitational when breathing problems slowed her to a 67th-place finish in 25:11 over the three-mile course at Crescenta Valley Park on Oct. 4.

The breathing problems first surfaced during hard workouts this fall. The situation worsened and began affecting her easy runs as well. Doctors placed her on asthma medication for several weeks, but there was no improvement.

In the weeks leading up to Mt. SAC, Garnic stopped taking the asthma medication and focused on her running form by relaxing her shoulders and arms. The move paid dividends Friday.

Garnic's time was only seven seconds off her best run - 18:34 - last season. La Canada co-coaches Tony Haynes and Dennis McNulty were hoping for time under 20 minutes. Garnic was shooting to break 19.

``I guess I got both goals,'' said an ecstatic Garnic, who received congratulatory hugs from teammates as she exited the finish chute.

Garnic started in the middle of the pack and passed the mile mark in 5:30. She worked her way up to fourth, shortly before the two-mile mark and maintained her position to the finish.

``You couldn't have enough paper to (write about) all the problems she has had,'' McNulty said. ``We always thought she was one race away from getting rid of all her problems.''

Heather Garritson of Buena Park won in 18:14 with Alicia McFall of Newport Harbor and Veronica Sanchez of Wasco in second and third, respectively. Michelle Wilkinson of Alemany was eighth.

``Normally, I start in the front and today I worked my way up,'' Garnic said. ``I thought `Oh God, I am not going to be able to do well in this race.' I kept passing people and I thought. `I might as well start running harder.' I never felt I had more at the end of a race like I did (Friday). When I ran 18:34, I felt like I was dying.''

Garnic was the lone competitor for La Canada, which rested its other members in preparation for the Rio Hondo League finals, and did not score as a team.

Newport Harbor won with 84 points, followed by South Hills and St. Joseph of Lakewood with 103 and 109 points. Louisville, lifted by an 12th-place finish by Kim Utterson (19:42) was ninth with 186 points.

Oak Park and Flintridge Prep were third and fourth in the Division IV and Division V Boys' Sweepstakes. Oak Park paced by 10th- and 15th-place efforts by Stephen Martin and Mark Nevers, totaled 109 points to finish behind Nordhoff (44) and McFarland (109). Doug Hall was sixth for Flintridge Prep in Division V, won by Hopi.

Competition resumes this morning in the 50th annual event, highlighted by the boys' team and individual sweepstakes at 9:30 and 9:50. The girls' individual sweepstakes and team sweepstakes races are scheduled for 10:10 and 10:30.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:SPORTS
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Oct 25, 1997
Words:591
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