Forced out as the head football coach at Eagle Point High in January, Jacob Schauffler wasn't sure what direction he would go in the early aftermath...
SPRINGFIELD — South Medford senior Sarah Reierson and North Medford freshman Grace Jovanovic each qualified for the Class 6A state championships in two events Saturday at the Southwest Conference district meet at Willamalane Park Swim Center.
Reierson, the defending state champion in the 200-yard individual medley, won that event in 2:08.36, just 1.33 seconds off her state-winning and personal-best time of a year ago.
She also captured the 100 backstroke in 59.12 seconds.
The state meet is Feb. 17-18 at Mount Hood Community College in Gresham.
Event winners automatically advance to state. Others can do so by meeting qualifying standards — as Jovanovic did in one of her events — or as a wild card, which won't be determined until all the districts in the state hold their meets. All other district meets are next week.
Reierson also helped two Panther relays finish second, keeping alive their wild-card hopes.
"She's going to hopefully be peaking in two weeks," said Vickie Reierson, Sarah's mother and the South Medford coach. "She did really well. Those times are really good. She was saving herself a little bit for the relays. They went all out trying to make state."
Kaylee Cooper had two seconds for the Panthers, establishing personal bests in both the 200 (1:58.51) and 500 (5:23.80) freestyles.
Jenna Cooper also had two PRs, placing fourth in both the 50 free (26.70) and the 100 butterfly (1:03.69).
South's only other individual finalist, Janelle Legacion, was eighth in the 100 back (1:11.39).
The Panthers' 200 free relay of the Cooper sisters, Legacion and Reierson clocked 1:44.11, behind only Roseburg's 1:43.62.
The South 400 free relay of the same girls was second in 3:51.36. South Eugene's winning time was 3:46.48.
Jovanovic may have been the surprise of the meet. She was seeded second in the 100 breaststroke but triumphed in 1:07.47 to secure a berth to state. Her time was 31/2 seconds better than her preliminary time.
She then blazed to a second-place time of 58.06 in the 100 fly, beating the state qualifying standard of 59.96.
"She did awesome," said Vickie Reierson, noting that Jovanovic won the breast by almost a full second over two South Eugene competitors. "She blew them out of the water. It was fabulous. Everyone was just going crazy."
Also for the Black Tornado, Lauren Hunter placed third in the 100 back in 1:05.18 and fifth in the 100 free in 58.50; Carly Freda was seventh in the 500 free in 6:20.20; and Rayna Carson was seventh in the 50 free in 28.26.
Hunter, Jovanovic and Freda were joined by Leyna Kohlmeier on the third-place 200 medley relay team that clocked 2:02.00.
On the boys side, South Medford and North Medford each had relay teams place fifth. The Panthers' 400 free relay Daniel King, Gabe Juul, Calvin Buchholz and Tanner Blaydon was timed in 4:01.22. The Black Tornado 200 free team of Stavin Emigh, Kyler Westlund, Reid Gibson and Bryant Almanza clocked 1:43.47.
In individual events, Almanza was fourth in the 100 breast in 1:10.65, and Gibson was fifth in the 100 back in 1:03.87.
Crater's Brighton Barber placed sixth in the 100 breast with a time of 1:10.99.
PHOENIX 15TH — At Cottage Grove, Phoenix finished with 55.5 total points and placed 15th out of 34 teams at the Cottage Grove Tournament.
Phoenix's two-time state champion, Eleazar De Luca, beat Gold Beach's three-time state champion, Quinn Johnston, 9-4, in the tournament's marquee match at 145 pounds.
Sophmore Ismael Rubio of Phoenix placed fifth at 160 pounds.
SOUTHERN OREGON LEAGUE — Three boys finished within a whisker of each other in the giant slalom during the second race of the Southern Oregon League at Mount Ashland ski area on Saturday.
Reece Pressman of North Medford won as the combined time of his two runs was 1 minute, 13.22 seconds. Nicholas Wogan of Klamath Union (1:13.39) and Charlie Legg of Phoenix (1:13.85) were right behind.
Legg captured the boys slalom event, while Megan Ganim of Ashland took the girls GS and Kailey Flockoi of Crater won the girls slalom.
The next race is Feb. 17-18.
1, Megan Ganim, Ashland, 1:14.62; 2, Maddie Chaves, Ashland, 1:17.53; 3, Rylee Houch, North Medford, 1:24.35; 4, Kailey Flockoi, Crater, 1:24.88; 5, Jessica Bocchi, Klamath Union, 1:26.55.
1, Kailey Flockoi, Crater, 1:42.49; 2, Rylee Houck, North Medford, 1:49.35; 3, Maddie Chaves, Ashland, 1:53.27; 4, Jessica Bocchi, Klamath Union, 2:03.06; 5, Audry Beattie, St. Mary's, 2:08.10.
1, Reece Pressman, North Medford, 1:13.22; 2, Nicholas Wogan, Klamath Union, 1:13.39; 3, Charlie Legg, Phoenix, 1:13.85; 4, Ean Flockoi, Crater, 1:15.72; 5, Thomas Lund, Klamath Union, 1:16.59.
1, Charlie Legg, Phoenix, 1:33.20; 2, Thomas Lund, KU, 1:37.94; 3, Austin Morgan, South Medford, 1:46.60; 4, Noah Brooks, South Medford, 1:52.41; 5, Reece Pressman, North Medford, 1:53.11.