HIgh school track and field season got going in earnest tonight at the Kern County Invitational at Liberty, and conditions were so soggy they called off the 1,600-meter relays at the end of the night.

But it wasn't all depressing and gray for local athletes tonight. Ridgeview graduate Johnny Carter, who won the 2008 state title in the triple jump as a freshman, just added to his hardware haul in a big way: Carter, a redshirt freshman at Art Academy of San Francisco, won the NCAA Division II title in the indoor long jump Friday in Birmingham, Ala., with a mark of 25 feet, 1.75 inches that was some nine inches better than the runner-up.

I reached Carter by phone about an hour after the event ended.

"I'm just full of joy," he said. "I worked aso hard to get to this point, and seeing your hard work pay off is the best thing in the world."

Carter's winning mark came on his second jump and was his longest of the season (his personal record is 25-6). He fouled on his next three attempts and then passed on his sixth and final jump with victory secured.

"I just give the honor to God for letting this opportunity come to me," Carter said. "It feels pretty great. I'm pretty excited. There's a lot of emotions running through me right now."

Carter is also the top seed in the triple jump, which will be contested at 10:30 tomorrow morning in Birmingham.