Last Updated on March 20, 2003 by Paulette Brown-Hinds


By G. Montgomery
BVN Sports Staff

LA Sports Arena- It was overcast outside, but the weather was fine inside the Los Angeles Sports Arena for the 43rd running of the Los Angeles Invitational Track and Field meet.

An announced crowd of 5,890 track and field purists gathered to watch Southern California’s unofficial kickoff meet. The Inland Empire was particularly well represented.

Tyree Washington and Mickey Grimes, both Moreno Valley residents, competed in the open division. Angela Williams now running for Nike, competed in the women’s 55 mm.

USC sprinter and former Riverside North Star Tracee Thomas ran against Angela in the 55-meter dash. In the High School division, J.W. North’s Ashlee Brown, Tanika Ward and Gayle Hunter ran the 55 meter hurdles. Other athletes from North included Lena Bettis and Lili Calhoun.

Washington, a Riverside La Sierra graduate, ran the 500 meter for the first time in five years easily outpacing the field from start to finish running a 0.57.32 seconds.

Washington is training for the 400 meter with and eye on the Olympic Games in Greece. Grimes, a Canyon Springs graduate, also wants to to be in Athens in 2004. Grimes edged Nike teammate John Drummond in the 55-meter dash in a time of 6.10 seconds.

After beating Drummond, Grimes who is currently training at Chaffey College in preparation for the Olympics trials said, “I think this is going to be my year”.

Angela Williams, USC graduate and 4-time Pac-10 100 meter champion, now running for Nike, finished first in the 55-meter dash with a time of 6.73 seconds. Tracee Thomas, USC freshman and likely heir to Angela’s crown finished sixth with a time of 7.18 seconds.

“If I had gotten another lane, it would have been a better race. I couldn’t see her from there (lane 1)”. Said Thomas, “I’ll always be at USC. I hope she can be a 4 time champion like I was.” “I’ll always be around USC to help her out. I’m an USC alumnus first and foremost,” Williams said.

Ashlee Brown, J.W. North’s two-time defending state champion in the 300-meter hurdles finished first in her heat of the 55 meters (actually measured at 50 meters) at 6.51 seconds and in the 50-meter hurdles with a 7.31.

Brown’s teammates Tanika Ward finished first in her heat of the 55-mete with a time of 6.74 seconds. Lena Bettis and Gail Hunter of Riverside North were first and second in the girl’s long jump with leaps of 18-23/4 and 17-91/4.

Lili Calhoun, also of Riverside North, was scheduled to run the 500, but scratched because of a sore knee.