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The best race of the 60th Medford Rotary Relays?
It involved North Medford's Halley Folsom, the girl athlete of the meet for the third straight year, and it was for second place.
Never mind that the junior set meet records in the 300-meter hurdles and the high jump at North Medford High's Bowerman Field Saturday, or that she also won the triple jump.
It was her spine-tingling battle with one of North Valley's D'Arpino whiz kids, in this case Kerissa, in the 4x400 relay that had fans cheering robustly and many of the infield inhabitants darting around to catch views of the final sprint.
"Sure," said North Medford coach Piet Voskes, "you have two Division I kids duking it out from the gate, and that's who she (Folsom) is. It doesn't matter who she's competing against. If it's a group of guys in a sprint workout, that's who she wants to race."
Folsom overtook the senior D'Arpino — who, like her twin sister, Venessa, will compete in track at Oregon State — in the final 20 meters.
Neither could catch Grants Pass' Tarisa Olinski, who had a sizable lead thanks to teammates Tiffany Barrett, Skylie Brummett and Deshae Wise and finished off one of the Caver girls' four victories en route to 112.16 points and the big-school team championship. Oregon City was second (76.93), North Medford third (59.42) and South Medford fourth (54.20).
North Valley won the small-school title with 42.95 points.
Grants Pass made it a clean sweep by taking the boys title among larger schools with 93.42 points, followed by Oregon City (77.14) and South Medford (60).
Hidden Valley was the small-school boys winner with 58.20 points.
The meet featured 15 schools and 760 competitors, making it the largest since it was started again in 2006.
Two Grants Pass boys shared the top-athlete award, Keil Nicholas and Drake Brennan.
Folsom broke her own meet record in the 300 hurdles with a time of 46.06 seconds, surviving after hitting the next-to-last hurdle. She set the mark of 46.33 last year, a season she capped by winning the Class 6A state championship in the event.
She won the high jump on her third attempt at 5-foot-2, matching the meet record of Roseburg's Erika Shigley in 2010, then raised it another inch and claimed the record for herself.
Folsom made three tries at 5-6 but missed on each.
Her winning triple-jump mark was 34-3.
"Halley consistently elevates her performance," said Voskes. "She's a rare kid that comes around once every decade or so and just competes in everything she does."
Despite all of Folsom's wins, the runner-up place in the 4x400 had its own appeal.
North Medford was in the middle of the pack when Folsom took the handoff for the final leg. North Valley was further back.
No sooner had Folsom negotiated the first turn and was hitting the second did Kerissa D'Arpino come barreling past her right shoulder.
"I got the baton and there was a girl in front of me and I was planning on passing her," said Folsom. "Then Kerissa came around and passed me going really fast. I was like, whoa. I didn't want her to create a gap that was too big. I wanted to at least be close to her, so I just started following her and following her stride and kind of copied her throughout because she knows what she's doing."
Folsom expected a strong kick from D'Arpino, but the latter didn't have it left in her.
"In the last 100, it was just kind of a battle for the end," said Folsom. "... But it was pretty hard. She really, really pushed me."
Olinski crossed the finish in 4:12.24. North Medford came in at 4:14.12 and North Valley 4:14.51.
Grants Pass lost three of four runners off last year's school-record 4x400 team that placed fourth at state, and coach Jenner Yriarte was pleased to see a strong showing early in the season. GP's time ranks sixth in the 6A ranks.
It did not surprise him that Olinski wasn't caught.
"That's why she's there," he said, "because she's tough as nails. She told me she was running for her life. ... She can handle that situation."
The race actually helped Folsom in the high jump, one of the final events. She was sufficiently warmed up when she made good on her third attempt at 5-2.
"I could still feel that I had some energy in my legs, so I just wanted to use it all in that jump and get over," she said. "I was feeling pretty excited after I cleared 5-2 so I wanted to use that."
She cleared 5-3 on her first try. Rather than going for 5-4, she raised the bar all the way to 5-6, which would have been a school record by half an inch.
Folsom was close to clearing it, but got what she wanted out of it.
"I just wanted to get familiar with what it feels like to jump it with a real bar in a real meet," she said, "so I can take it into another meet. ... There's a lot more power that goes into it, so I'll just keep working at it."
Other girls meet records were by North Valley in the 4x100 with a time of 50.03; and by Grants Pass' Joanna Galli, who cleared 10-7 in the pole vault, good also for the Cavers' school record and in helping her three-person relay team set the meet record of 29-1.
North Medford's Kendell Erb won the discus at 112-1, and South Medford had two relay winners — the 4x800 (Annie Watson, Megan DeMaria, Elizabeth Beattie and Lela Stemple) in 10:48.78 and the 4x100 shuttle hurdles in 53.62.
Phoenix's distance medley relay of Emma Amundsen, Audrey Hazel, Nevina DeLuca and Danielle Jantzer took first in 13:26.70.
Boys meet records were by the Hidden Valley 4x100 team in 43.88; the Grants Pass discus relay of 380-10; and Grants Pass in the high jump relay of 18-0.
South Medford's boys captured two events. The 4x800 relay team of Kaleb Lowe, John Peregrina, Gabriel Listro and Mike Myers clocked 8:58.60. The distance medley relay won in 11:22.20 with a team of Myers, Grant Davis, Miles Moran and Ethan Cannon.
North Medford's 4x200 team of Daniel Schuler, Michael Wilkins, Josh Hansen and Aaron Browne-Moore triumphed in 1:31.59.
Medford Rotary Relay Results
TEAM SCORES — 1, Grants Pass, 93.42; 2, Oregon City, 77.14; 3, South Medford, 60; 4, Hidden Valley, 58.2; 5, North Medford, 56.19; 6, North Valley, 42.24; 7, Eagle Point, 33.44; 8, Ashland, 30.98; 9, Henley, 24.94; 10, Mazama, 19.72; 11, Phoenix, 13.97; 12, Cascade Christian, 12.47; 13, Lakeview, .25.
1 MILE — 1, Shane Crofoot, Hidden Valley, 4:42.71; 2, James Swyter, Oregon City, 4:45.73; 3, Kevin VanDyke, Eagle Point, 4:52.98.
4X100-METER RELAY — 1, Hidden Valley (Dereak Albright, Cameron Perrin, Thomas Fate, Mike'l Andreasen), 43.88; 2, North Medford, 43.98; 3, North Valley, 44.10.
4X200-METER RELAY — 1, North Medford (Daniel Schuler, Michael Wilkins, Josh Hansen, Aaron Browne-Moore), 1:31.59; 2, Hidden Valley, 1:32.72; 3, North Valley, 1:33.29.
4X400-METER RELAY — 1, Hidden Valley (Dereak Albright, Cameron Perrin, Zachery Perrin, Alex Jarvis), 3:30.61; 2, South Medford, 3:33.89; 3, Oregon City, 3:34.56.
4X800-METER RELAY — 1, South Medford (Kaleb Lowe, John Peregrina, Gabriel Listro, Mike Myers), 8:58.60; 2, Eagle Point, 9:08.85; 3, Phoenix, 9:17.80.
DISTANCE MEDLEY RELAY — 1, South Medford (Mike Myers, Grant Davis, Miles Moran, Ethan Cannon), 11:22.20; 2, Grants Pass, 11:30.69; 3, Cascade Christian, 11:34.50.
4X110 SHUTTLE HURDLES — 1, Hidden Valley, 51.38; 2, Grants Pass, 51.40; 3, Oregon City, 52.42.
300-METER HURDLES — 1, Zac Hannan, Grants Pass, 42.53; 2, Dustin Harrah, Grants Pass, 42.84; 3, Tyler Wanamaker, Eagle Point, 43.63.
SHOT PUT — 1, Drake Brennan, Grants Pass, 46-0.50; 2, Duke York, Hidden Valley, 44-8.5; 3, Austin Holmes, Eagle Point, 44-7.
DISCUS — 1, Drake Brennan, Grants Pass, 145-5; 2, Aaron Cesaro, Cascade Christian, 144-5; 3, Dominic Meads, Ashland, 136-11.
JAVELIN — 1, Easton Christensen, Oregon City, 168-6; 2, Keil Nicholas, Grants Pass, 166-11; 3, Alex Canchola, Oregon City, 165-1.
HIGH JUMP — 1, Dustin Harrah, Grants Pass, 6-6; 2, Mario Filippi, North Medford, 6-2; 2, Austin DeWitz, Oregon City, 6-2.
LONG JUMP — 1, Mike'l Andreasen, Hidden Valley, 20-7.75; 2, Alex Canchola, Oregon City, 20-0.75; 3, Larry Cotton, Grants Pass, 19-8.
TRIPLE JUMP — 1, 1, Mike'l Andreasen, Hidden Valley, 43-3; 2, Aaron Browne-Moore, North Medford, 42-11; 3, Douglas Dahl, North Valley, 42-2.75.
POLE VAULT — 1, KC Lopez, Oregon City, 12-6; 2, Tyler Wanamaker, Eagle Point, 12-0; 3, Matthew Bishir, North Valley, 11-6; 3, Joe Malloy, Grants Pass, 11-6; 3, Kyle Wolfe, Grants Pass, 11-6.
TEAM SCORES — 1, Grants Pass, 112.16; 2, Oregon City, 76.93; 3, North Medford, 59.42; 4, South Medford, 54.2; 5, North Valley, 42.95; 6, Henley, 41.7; 7, Hidden Valley, 23.31; 8, Mazama, 22.2; 9, St. Mary's, 21; 10, Phoenix, 20; 11, Ashland, 18.37; 12, Cascade Christian, 17; 13, Lakeview, 8.25; 14, Eagle Point, 2; 15, Canby, 1.5.
1-MILE — 1, Miranda Nelson, Oregon City, 5:37.92; 2, Stephanie Croy, Cascade Christian, 5:46.63; 3, Kyra Mull, Canby, 5:53.20.
4X100-METER RELAY — 1, North Valley (Kerissa D'Arpino, McKenzie Comyford, Venessa D'Arpino, Megan Hoback), 50.03; 2, Grants Pass, 50.75; 3, Oregon City, 51.11.
4X200-METER RELAY — 1, North Valley (Venessa D'Arpino, McKenzie Comyford, Megan Hoback, Kerissa D'Arpino), 1:48.32; 2, Grants Pass, 1:50.83; 3, St. Mary's, 1:51.48.
4X400-METER RELAY — 1, Grants Pass (Tiffany Barrett, Skyline Brummett, Deshae Wise, Tarisa Olinski), 4:12.24; 2, North Medford, 4:14.12; 3, North Valley, 4:14.51.
4X800-METER RELAY — 1, South Medford (Annie Watson, Megan DeMaria, Elizabeth Beattie, Lela Stemple), 10:48.78; 2, Phoenix, 11:00.92; 3, Grants Pass, 11:03.16.
DISTANCE MEDLEY RELAY — 1, Phoenix (Emma Amundsen, Audrey Hazel, Nevina DeLuca, Danielle Jantzer), 13:26.70; 2, Grants Pass, 13:40.10; 3, Henley, 13:55.68.
4X100 SHUTTLE HURDLES — 1, South Medford, 53.62; 2, Henley, 54.12; 3, Grants Pass, 56.44.
300-METER HURDLES — 1, Halley Folsom, North Medford, 46.06; 2, Emily Lemons, South Medford, 48.33; 3, Deshae Wise, Grants Pass, 48.34.
SHOT PUT — 1, Kristina Clark, Grants Pass, 37-11; 2, Sara Miles, South Medford, 35-3.25; 3, Kendell Erb, North Medford, 32-5.75.
DISCUS — 1, Kendell Erb, North Medford, 112-1; 2, Tori Romig, Phoenix, 108-3; 3, Kristina Clark, Grants Pass, 102-5.
JAVELIN — 1, Delany Hall, Lakeview, 139-8; 2, Sarah Maffett, Grants Pass, 123-4; 3, Kristina Clark, Grants Pass, 122-6.
HIGH JUMP — 1, Halley Folsom, North Medford, 5-3; 2, Megan Hoback, North Valley, 5-0; 3, Taylor Shaw, Oregon City, 4-10.
LONG JUMP — 1, Skylie Brummett, Grants Pass, 15-9; 2, Kerissa D'Arpino, North Valley, 15-0; 3, Lindsey Bonney, Grants Pass, 14-9.5.
TRIPLE JUMP — 1, Halley Folsom, North Medford, 34-3; 2, Jenna Hoiland, Oregon City, 33-10; 3, Elixabeth Levesque, Mazama, 33-8.
POLE VAULT — 1, Joanna Galli, Grants Pass, 10-7; 2, Teiryn Brennan, Grants Pass, 10-0; 3, Victoria Lawton-Dietz, Ashland, 9-0; 3, Becca Houk, Oregon City, 9-0; 3, Alisa McEniry, Oregon City, 9-0.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email email@example.com