He's got a stable of sprinters who form the best relay team in the state. And he's in charge of a track and field program that has six assistant coaches.

Yes, life is good for Berkeley head coach Eric Gambrell.

"That's a blessing right there," Gambrell said when he talked about the size of his coaching staff. "It makes my job a lot easier, and they actually get to coach. I focus on the paperwork, eligibility and getting them to the right meet, which is important. That allows our girls to see the best competition out there.

"We have a lot of quality, especially in the relays. We've combined the boys' and girls' teams so they practice together and root for each other. That's another thing that helps. We've homogenized practices to make them more efficient."

Yes, life is good for Gambrell. But life could get better the weekend of May 9-10.

That's the weekend the High School League crowns state champions, and Gambrell says his girls' team has a chance to run a victory lap.

"We've got some sprinters who run the relays too," Gambrell said. "And, we have some good throwers. We're looking at 80 to 85 points in our best best-case scenario."

The Stags get to compete against some of the best talent in the Southeast beginning today when the 17th annual Taco Bell Classic gets under way at Harry Parone Stadium on the campus of Spring Valley High School.

Sisters Catrina and Leanna Morrison along with Amber Robinson, Deteka Thompson and Raven White all take turns running the 4x400- and 4x100-meter relays.

The 4x400 team ripped off a clocking of 4 minutes, .72 seconds, at the recent Queen City Classic in Charlotte. That's the best time in the state so far this spring and is more than four seconds faster than the No. 2 time.

The 4x100 team also is swift, turning in a time of 48.43, which is third best in the state. J.L. Mann has the top time, 48.40, while Rock Hill is No. 2 with a time of 48.55.

The Stags also have a potent 4x200-meter relay team, which has a state-best time of 1:43.73. But that event is not contested at the state meet.

The Stags will focus on individual events rather than relays this weekend at Spring Valley.

"At a meet that big, the girls can get a lot of national exposure," Gambrell said. "So we want them to focus on their events.

"Our 4-by-100 team has run a 48.43 and that qualifies us for the nationals," Gambrell said. "The sad thing about it is we probably won't run it at the state because we want to max out our points. We also have some good throwers, which will help."

White and Thompson are the only senior sprinters and offer experience. White has the third-fastest time in the state in the 400-meter dash, fourth-fastest time in the 200-meter dash and the eighth-fastest time in the 100-meter dash. Thompson also competes in the three sprint events.

Leanna Morrison has run both hurdle events and the three sprint events. Catrina Morrison has competed in both hurdles and the sprints, while Robinson has run in the 800, 400, 200 and participated in the triple jump.