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MORTENSEN SETS MARK IN 3,200.

Byline: Danny Schumacher Daily News Staff Writer

It obviously doesn't matter if Kim Mortensen has company when she runs.

After dueling with China's Li Jien in the 3,000 during last weekend's Mt. San Antonio College Invitational, the Thousand Oaks High School senior had the track to herself during Friday's Ventura County Championships and she pushed herself to the fastest 3,200-meter performance ever by a local athlete.

Mortensen, who went into the race No. 3 on the all-time area list in the event, swiftly covered her eight laps at Camarillo High in 10 minutes, 7.10 seconds, moving ahead of Alemany's Vickie Cook (10:15.36 for two miles, 1981) and Agoura's Amy Skieresz (10:16.42, 1995).

She also moved into third on the all-time state list and seventh all-time nationally and crushed the meet record of 10:34.76 set by Agoura's Deena Drossin in 1991.

But what made Mortensen's performance so remarkable was that she ran completely by herself after taking the lead during the first 50 meters.

Still, she cranked off one outstanding split after another. She opened the first 800 in 2:30 and ran the first 1,600 in 5:04, which is just seven seconds slower than her personal-best over that distance, before blasting away at the final 1,600 in 5:02.

And it was probably a performance that Mortensen and Thousand Oaks distance coach Jack Farrell hadn't planned on.

``(Farrell) told me to go out and see what my first lap was and try to hold pace,'' Mortensen said. ``Once I get on that pace, I get in a groove and I try to focus on the laps that are a struggle for me.''

After passing Cook on the all-time area list, Mortensen only has to move up more on the all-time national list. At least one coach speculated that she could become the first prep athlete ever to run under 10 minutes outdoors.

Other local winners Friday included Simi Valley sophomore Ryan Meuse, Newbury Park's Brock Diediker and DaJuan Hawkins and Camarillo's Josh Hill.

Meuse just missed pulling off an impressive double. He won the 800 in 1:56.47 and was third in the 400 in 50.40.

Hawkins won the triple jump (44-7-1/4) and Diediker won his second Ventura County title in the shot put with a throw of 53 feet, 1-1/2 inch.
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Apr 27, 1996
Words:398
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