The high school sports season is winding down, and I saw one of the most impressive sights I’ve seen in San Diego prep sports this year at the Avocado League track and field finals Thursday at Vista High.
Oceanside High senior Maurice Patterson won the 100 meters in 10.56 seconds. How fast is that? About 99 percent of the football players you saw promoted on ESPN during the NFL draft two weeks ago as running a 4.3 or 4.4 for 40 yards couldn’t run a 10.56. Maybe a 10.80, I’d say.
A 10.56 is the 12th fastest 100 meter time in CIF San Diego Section history. New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush — probably the fastest man in the NFL — ran a 10.42 as a junior at Helix in 2002, but the last prominent San Diego football player to run a mark in Patterson’s neighborhood was Darnay Scott.
The San Diego State and Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver ran a 10.59 as a senior at Kearny High in 1991.
What’s remarkable about this is Patterson, a wide receiver on the football team without a scholarship offer, never came out for track until his senior year. There is some technique to running that fast on the track, and Patterson has picked it up quickly.
The reason Patterson’s football success wasn’t enough to earn a scholarship was the rap on him was his hands.
But Oceanside assistant track coach Willie Buchanon, the former Chargers and Green Bay Packers cornerback from San Diego State and Oceanside, says if Patterson had been running this year’s times a year ago, “Someone would have taken a chance on him with a football scholarship.”
As it is, Patterson, a 6-foot-2, 190-pounder, said he will attend a junior college for football and track, unless a four-year school comes into the picture at the last minute. Patterson has more chances to put up fast times in the CIF San Diego Section track and field finals and the CIF state meet over the next three weekends.
Too many high school athletes these days focus on one sport. Not only do they limit their options and possibly not find their best sport, they don’t benefit from the cross-training a sport like track and field does for any other sport.
It certainly hasn’t hurt an old-school high school athlete who was at the Avocado track finals. El Camino High junior Nelson Rosario swept the high jump (6-feet, 7 inches), long jump (23-11) and triple jump (48-2).
Rosario, a 6-5, 205-pounder, is one of the West Coast’s top wide receiver recruits and one of California’s top jumpers.
“These kids who play just one sport are making a mistake,” said Buchanon, who, besides his football success that included an All-American career with the Aztecs, was one of San Diego’s all-time fastest high school hurdlers and later a San Diego Padres baseball draft pick.