Athletic directors at the Class 5A level have proven to be the most invested in controlling their own playoff destiny since a switch to the...
GRANTS PASS — North Medford couldn't match the depth of the top girls track and field teams at the Southwest Conference championships Saturday at Grants Pass High.
But the Black Tornado was able to trot out a couple of the best performers.
Junior Halley Folsom secured pieces of two more school records — giving her four in a career that is far from over — and sophomore Savannah Greenwade turned on the booster rockets for impressive win after impressive win with state-meet qualification on the line.
Folsom matched the school record in the high jump, clearing 5 feet, 6 inches, and ran the third leg on the 4x400-meter relay that eked out another Black Tornado mark. She also won her specialty, the 300 intermediate hurdles, for which she is the defending state champion.
Greenwade claimed the 200 and 400 in personal-best times, then pulled away from the field in the same 4x400 relay that appeared dicey over the first three legs.
In other girls highlights, South Medford's Montana Logue, seeded eighth, ran second in the 100 hurdles to secure a state berth.
The top two in each event and those meeting qualifying standards advance to the state meet next Friday and Saturday at Hayward Field in Eugene.
In the boys meet, North Medford's Aaron Browne-Moore qualified for state in three events — the short and long relays, which both placed second, and the triple jump, in which he was runner-up. The Black Tornado 4x100 quartet broke a 13-year-old school record.
Crater's Austin Sanders put on a big finishing kick to win the 800 in a time that bettered his previous best by more than three seconds, thereby following in his brother's footsteps and earning a trip state. Hunter Sanders ran for Crater a few years ago.
In the high jump, three locals advanced to state, thanks to a qualifying standard that most agreed was fairly low. A record seven SWC jumpers bettered the 6-2 height necessary to make state, including runner-up Kaizer Gillispie of South Medford, his teammate Josh Washington and North Medford's Mario Filippi.
Sheldon captured the boys and girls team titles, taking the boys with 189 points and the girls with 156. Grants Pass was runner-up in both team races.
The highlight of Folsom's day was clearing 5-6 in the high jump and equaling the 2005 record of Hayley Godfrey.
"Yeah, I'm really, really, really excited about that," said Folsom, who had been stuck on 5-5 since her freshman year despite going higher in practice. "Finally all the work at practice I'm doing paid off. It felt really good to get over and hear the crowd because I knew I got it. It was just a really exciting day."
She missed her first two attempts at 5-6. She focused on her plant angle and "trying to calm down and catch my breath from the 300," she said. "I like to take that energy and put it into my jump because I didn't want it to be my last jump."
After Folsom cleared 5-6, the only other jumper left, Sheldon's Geneva Lehnert, also cleared it on her final try. The two now share the state lead in Class 6A.
Both missed three times at 5-7, and Lehnert was victorious on fewer misses.
Folsom won the 300 hurdles in 45.31, about a second off her PR. She now owns school marks in the 300 hurdles and 800, shares the high jump mark and has a piece of the 4x400 mark.
In the relay, Jaci Brumble and Hannah Anderson handled the first two legs. When Folsom got the baton, she had more than half the field to catch.
"I wasn't too far behind, but I was farther behind than we've been all season, so I was a little nervous about that," said Folsom. "I knew I could catch up with them and I was going to try to stay up with them as long as I could."
She gave Greenwade a one-step lead, and her anchor teammate took it from there.
"I have so much confidence in Savannah," said Folsom. "She always does well. She's an amazing 400 runner, and I trust her with the baton."
For good reason. Greenwade pulled away from the pack and crossed the finish in 3:59.18, eclipsing the mark of 3:59.22 set in 2003. Their time ranks third in Class 6A.
Greenwade's other winning times were 56.80 in the 400 and 25.77 in the 200. The former leads the 6A ranks; only North Valley's D'Arpino twins, Kerissa and Venessa, have gone faster.
Greenwade felt like she was better prepared when she ran the preliminaries on Thursday, but then the 400 was her first race of the day.
"Today I definitely ran better because I was just warmed up," she said. "I ran the 4x100 today. That was a nice little build-up to get me going for the day."
Logue had the only 17-second prelim time in the low hurdles, but she surged to second place in 16.39, a fraction ahead of teammate Emily Lemons. Deshae Wise won in 15.52.
Browne-Moore and the Black Tornado relay teams fared well.
In the 4x100 to kick off the running events, he joined Josh Hansen, Michael Wilkins and Daniel Schuler in racing to a school-record 42.77, breaking the mark of 43.0 set in 2001. The team, ranked seventh in the state, was second Saturday to state-leader Sheldon, which clocked 41.93.
The same North Medford foursome ran the long relay and was again behind Sheldon, 3:22.37 to 3:24.52. The Irish's time leads 6A, while the Black Tornado is ninth.
Browne-Moore will go to state in a third event, the triple jump. Grant Shurtliff of Thurston triumphed at 44-8, but Browne-Moore bettered 44 feet for only the second time at 44-11/2.
Sanders had as his goal making it to state and beating his older brother's time in the 800.
"He went to state a few times, so that was cool," said Sanders, whose time of 1:56.18 was a 3.4-second improvement on his previous best. "That was the plan today, try to beat his time, which I did."
Sanders was in the middle of the pack until the 300-meter mark, then he began reeling in competition. He took the lead near the final turn and wasn't about to relinquish it.
"With 50 meters to go, I just gave it everything I had left in my tank," he said. "I've been searching for that gear all season, and I'm glad I found it for this race.
"I'm excited. This is my first year going to state and I'm a senior. I was really hoping that would happen."
Last year, he was less than a second from making it.
"So going into this season," said Sanders, "I thought I'd stop at nothing just to make sure I got there."
In the boys high jump, Dustin Harrah of Grants Pass won at 6-4, and Gillispie was second at 6-3 — a height others bypassed to get to 6-4. When no one but Harrah cleared 6-4, the South Medford junior earned second place.
Filippi, who won the pole vault on Thursday, placed fifth at 6-2, and Washington was sixth at the same height.
The high jump qualifying standard of 6-2 is devised from the four-year average of fifth place at state.
TEAM SCORES — Sheldon 189, Grants Pass 97.5, South Eugene 93, Roseburg 72.5, Thurston 71.5, North Medford 64, South Medford 37.5, Crater 35.
4X100-METER RELAY — 1, Sheldon (Adam Starnes, Nathan Starnes, Tyus Kuykendall, Mitch Horning), 41.93; 2, North Medford, 42.77; 3, Thurston, 43.41.
100 METERS — 1, Mitch Horning, She, 10.7; 2, Nathan Starnes, She, 10.73; 3, Cody Warner, Thu, 10.76.
200 METERS — 1, Mitch Horning, She, 22.06; 2, Nathan Starnes, She, 22.29; 3, Robert Connor, Thu, 22.39.
400 METERS — 1, Robert Connor, Thu, 48.83; 2, Sam Elling, SE, 49.01; 3, James Stock, She, 50.23.
800 METERS — 1, Austin Sanders, Cra, 1:56.18; 2, Ben Rodriguez, Ros, 1:56.84; 3, Andrew McCullough, SE, 1:57.93.
1,500 METERS — 1, Kenny Freeman, Ros, 4:00.71; 2, Reilly Bloomer, SE, 4:01.41; 3, Tristan Carpenter, She, 4:03.22.
110-METER HURDLES — 1, Zac Hannan, GP, 15.16; 2, Tyus Kuykendall, She, 15.16; 3, John Saylor, SE, 15.83.
300-METER HURDLES — 1, Zac Hannan, GP, 39.8; 2, Grant Shurtliff, Thu, 39.96; 3, Tyus Kuykendall, She, 40.15.
DISCUS — 1, Drake Brennan, GP, 172-7; 2, Calvin Claassen, GP, 144-0; 3, Austin Tharp, She, 142-10.
HIGH JUMP — 1, Dustin Harrah, GP, 6-4; 2, Kaizer Gillispie, SM, 6-3; 3, Larry Cotton, GP,
TRIPLE JUMP — 1, Grant Shurtliff, Thu, 44-8; 2, Aaron Browne-Moore, NM, 44-11/2; 3, Michael Glockling, SM, 43-0.
4X400-METER RELAY — 1, Sheldon (James Stock, Cade O'Connor, Tyus Kuykendall, Mitch Horning), 3:22.37; 2, North Medford, 3:24.52; 3, Roseburg, 3:25.82
TEAM SCORES — Sheldon 156, Grants Pass 145, Roseburg 83, North Medford 72, South Eugene 70, South Medford 63, Crater 55, Thurston 19.
4X100-METER RELAY — 1, Grants Pass (Lindsey Bonney, Deshae Wise, Tarisa Olinski, Tiffany Barrett), 48.52; 2, Sheldon, 49.09; 3, Crater, 49.87.
100 METERS — 1, Elizabeth Prevedello, She, 12.54; 2, Deshae Wise, GP, 12.60; 3, Taylor Carman, She, 12.63.
200 METERS — 1, Savannah Greenwade, NM, 25.77; 2, Elizabeth Prevedello, She, 25.95; 3, Taylor Carman, She, 26.06.
400 METERS — 1, Savannah Greenwade, NM, 56.80; 2, Kylee O'Connor, She, 59.46; 3, Tarisa Olinski, GP, 59.74.
800 METERS — 1, Kimberly Solberg, Ros, 2:17.22; 2, Mahala Norris, Ros, 2:18.07; 3, Jantzen Mazziotti, She, 2:19.42.
1,500 METERS — 1, Mahala Norris, Ros, 4:48.03; 2, Gracie Todd, She, 4:50.90; 3, Gracie Tostenson, Cra, 4:52.30.
100-METER HURDLES — 1, Deshae Wise, GP, 15.52; 2, Montana Logue, SM, 16.39; 3, Emily Lemons, SM, 16.42.
300-METER HURDLES — 1, Halley Folsom, NM, 45.31; 2, Lindsey Bonney, GP, 46.36; 3, Kylee O'Connor, She, 46.57.
DISCUS — 1, Ana Richardson, SE, 124-6; 2, Kristina Clark, GP, 121-5; 3, Kendell Erb, NM, 119-4.
HIGH JUMP — 1, Geneva Lehnert, She, 5-6, 2, Halley Folsom, 5-6; 3, Skylie Brummett, GP, 5-2
TRIPLE JUMP — 1, Skylie Brummett, GP, 31-11/4; 2, Belle Diouf, She, 34-81/2; 3, Joanna Galli, GP, 34-11/4.
4X400-METER RELAY — 1, North Medford (Jaci Brumble, Hannah Anderson, Halley Folsom, Savannah Greenwade), 3:59.18; 2, South Eugene, 4:02.96; 3, Roseburg, 4:03.53.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email email@example.com