Southern Oregon has been home to many prominent wrestling duals over the years, mostly thanks to the history of programs like Crater, Eagle Point...
The head track and field coaches at North Medford and South Medford high schools got what they wanted — and expected — out of Wednesday's Southern Oregon Hybrid dual meet at South Medford High.
Using the meet as a tune-up for Saturday's Crater Classic as well as a mid-season barometer, the Black Tornado and Panthers each had something to hold their heads high about despite cold and damp conditions throughout the meet.
"Everybody did what they were supposed to do and it all came out the way we thought it would," said South Medford head coach Mark Losinski.
South Medford's girls team put together a solid, balanced effort to topple the Tornado girls 76-65, while the North boys were able to turn the tables on the Panthers with an 89.3-51.7 triumph.
"The people we put on the track on the boys side just didn't have enough firepower to beat their boys," said Losinski, who held out standout sprinter Kodie Artner, still sore from Saturday's meet in Roseburg, as a precautionary measure. "We kinda knew that going in that we would've had to go crazy today to beat their boys but we thought our girls had a shot to win and they held up their end so we were able to split with them."
Two of the more exciting performances were turned in by South Medford distance runner Camden Stemple and North Medford's girls 4x100-meter relay team, with one step essentially deciding first and second place.
Stemple, a junior, placed himself on the heels of North Medford sophomore Ray Schireman for the bulk of the boys 1,500 meters before ultimately making up a three-meter deficit coming down the final stretch with an all-out final kick to the finish line. In hand-time results, Stemple came in at 4 minutes, 18.4 seconds and Schireman was an eyelash back at 4:18.8.
"I didn't know I had that," Stemple laughingly said in the moments after he secured his victory with the late surge.
"Those guys are right around the same times so those races are neat to watch because those are just about whatever kid guts it out," Losinski said of the 1,500 duel between Stemple and Schireman.
In the girls short relay, North and South runners shadowed each other throughout, with Black Tornado senior Amber Black handing the baton to junior Amanda Murray on the final leg at the same time the Panthers' Blair Shanklin-Rice made the final handoff to fellow junior Carmen Mejia.
Murray and Mejia raced side-by-side in front of an excited bunch of onlookers before Murray ultimately secured the win in the final few steps. North's girls came in first at 52.41, while South finished in 52.50 in automatic timing.
It was that kind of down-to-the-wire excitement that pleased Black Tornado head coach Piet Voskes on Wednesday.
"In the girls short relay I didn't see them winning but they put together a hodgepodge team and they won it so it was a good day for them, for sure," said Voskes, who was as proud of the effort given by all his competitors as he was any final marks.
"They all knew it's a big meet in the city of Medford," he added, "and I felt like they elevated and they competed and they showed a level of toughness that we want to see right now during the season."
North Medford freshman Halley Folsom won three individual events and was part of the winning short relay team. She won the 300 intermediate hurdles in 48.26 and took first in the high jump (4 feet, 10 inches) and triple jump (33-11).
South Medford junior Sarah Kapple joined sophomore Stefani Ritter and Mejia in posting a pair of individual wins, with Kapple and Mejia also playing a part in the Panthers' winning 4x400 relay team (4:28.66).
Kapple dominated the 1,500 in 5:06.3 and was equally impressive in winning the 400 (1:04.34), even though that race was used to simply get her some speed work. Mejia sprinted her way to wins in the 100 (13.24) and 200 (27.72), while Ritter claimed the 800 (2:30.55) and 3,000 (11:33.20).
On the boys side, North Medford senior thrower Dillon Henke won the shot put (47-41/2) and discus (133-11) while South Medford sophomore Hayden Saparto shrugged off an illness to claim the 100 (11.67) and the long jump (19-103/4).
Losinski said he was also excited by the effort of junior Kyle Larson, who won the triple jump in 42-5, and Travis Jantzer, who won the 800 in 2:03.08.
Voskes also had compliments for junior Blake Spencer, who was strong in pulling away from Stemple in the 3,000 for a win in 9:17.20 and returned to anchor the long relay to victory, and junior Emily Carlson, who hasn't competed much this spring but soared to a win in the long jump at 15-2.
TEAM SCORES — North Medford 89.3, South Medford 51.7.
100 — 1, Hayden Saparto, SM, 11.67; 200 — 1, Mason Pugsley, SM, 23.21; 400 — 1, Darren Cossette, NM, 52.11; 800 — 1, Travis Jantzer, SM, 2:03.08; 1,500 — 1, Camden Stemple, SM, 4:18.4; 3,000 — 1, Blake Spencer, NM, 9:17.20; 110 HURDLES — 1, Luke Fotuallii, NM, 16.43; 300 HURDLES — 1, Luke Fotuallii, NM, 43.81; 4X100 RELAY — 1, North Medford (Darren Cossette, Mario Saldana, Aaron Browne-Moore, Luke Fotuallii), 44.94; 4X400 RELAY — 1, North Medford (Darren Cossette, Devyn Baldovino, Mario Saldana, Blake Spencer), 3:31.55.
SHOT PUT — 1, Dillon Henke, NM, 47-4.50; DISCUS — 1, Dillon Henke, NM, 133-11; JAVELIN — 1, Colton Cheney, NM, 154-8; HIGH JUMP — 1, Kaizer Gillispie, SM, 5-6; POLE VAULT — 1, L.T. Hoak, NM, 11-0; LONG JUMP — 1, Hayden Saparto, SM, 19-10.75; TRIPLE JUMP — 1, Kyle Larson, SM, 42-5.
TEAM SCORES — South Medford 76, North Medford 65.
100 — 1, Carmen Mejia, SM, 13.24; 200 — 1, Carmen Mejia, SM, 27.72; 400 — 1, Sarah Kapple, SM, 1:04.34; 800 — 1, Stefani Ritter, SM, 2:30.55; 1,500 — 1, Sarah Kapple, SM, 5:06.3; 3,000 — 1, Stefani Ritter, SM, 11:33.20; 100 HURDLES — 1, Amber Black, NM, 16.24; 300 HURDLES — 1, Halley Folsom, NM, 48.26; 4X100 RELAY — 1, North Medford (Amber Black, Kaelin Benion, Halley Folsom, Amanda Murray), 52.41; 4X400 RELAY — 1, South Medford (Lael Smith, Lela Stemple, Sarah Kapple, Carmen Mejia), 4:28.66.
SHOT PUT — 1, Emily Cutting, SM, 34-0.50; DISCUS — 1, Rebecca Davidson, NM, 107-0; JAVELIN — 1, Alesha Major, NM, 114-7; HIGH JUMP — 1, Halley Folsom, NM, 4-10; POLE VAULT — 1, Mary Smith, SM, 8-6; LONG JUMP — 1, Emily Carlson, NM, 15-2; TRIPLE JUMP — 1, Halley Folsom, NM, 33-11.
Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, email@example.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry