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...
EUGENE — If ever it paid off to be patient, it was in the Class 4A girls 3,000-meter final at the state track and field championships Friday at Hayward Field.
Phoenix's Nevina De Luca, content to keep the leaders in sight much of the race, made her move with a couple laps to go and placed second with a season-best time.
Her race was a highlight for local competitors on the first day of competition for 6A, 5A and 4A schools, when a handful of finals were contested in each division.
The meet concludes today.
Other top performances were turned in by Ashland discus throwers Dominic Meads and Wyatt Thompson-Siporen, who were second and fifth, respectively, in 5A boys; North Medford's Mario Filippi, who was fifth in the 6A boys pole vault; and Crater's Gracie Tostenson, who was fifth in the 6A girls 3,000.
In prelim events, North Medford's girls didn't suffer any setbacks as they aim for the school's second team trophy in history.
Halley Folsom cruised in her 300 hurdles heat, winning in 44.57, and Savannah Greenwade did likewise in the 400, clocking 57.55.
They are among the favorites in each and will fortify the Black Tornado's third-ranked 4x400 relay. Folsom also is a top contender in the high jump.
De Luca got off to a slow start before rallying and coming in behind winner Shaylen Crook of Marshfield. Crook's time was 10 minutes, 12.27 seconds, the fastest 4A time in the state this season. De Luca was well back of her, in 10:39.37, but it was plenty fast enough to please her.
"I got third last year, and it was my goal to at least get a place higher," she said.
Crook led a fast threesome off the starting line and that pack built a 25-meter lead through the first 800 meters.
"They went out so fast," said De Luca, a junior. "Even I was out in 78 (seconds), if I heard correctly, and I'm usually trying to hit, like, 82s my first lap. I didn't want to go out crazy because I know that really hurts me."
As the fast pace took its toll on those leaders not named Crook, De Luca took advantage.
"I was looking up in front at everyone ahead of me and just reeling them in," she said, "not stopping, just having each one be my goal, so that was a good feeling."
She moved into third with about two laps to go and second with about 300 meters left.
"I just had this energy and was, like, 'Oh, I can still do it,'" she said. "They're still in reach."
Her previous best time was 10:22.80, achieved at last year's state meet. She'd done 10:41 this season.
In the 6A girls 3,000, Tostenson was the closest pursuer to Grant standout Ella Donaghu and paid the price at the end.
Through 2,000 meters, Donaghu had a 15-second lead on Tostenson. The Comet senior, who is headed to Boise State, was 10 meters ahead of the rest of the field with two laps left.
But she got passed by a couple foes, made some of the ground back up, then was nipped at the finish.
Donaghu, a sophomore, eclipsed 10 minutes with a time of 9:56.79. Tostenson came in at 10:16.96, five seconds off her best.
Meads and company had to contend with a slippery throwing ring when intermittent sprinkles hit the area.
His adjustments were spot on, for the sophomore entered the competition with the fifth-best mark in the state.
"I was really surprised," he said. "It was a rainy day, so I made the most of what I could of the ring. I surprised myself. I had a lot of fun and threw second."
The ring was wettest at the back, he said, where the throwers start.
"I went a lot slower than I normally would have and had a much wider swing at first so I could get a little more speed at the end," said Meads, whose season best is 150-5.
There was little doubt everyone else was shooting for second after winner Sebastian Barajas' third throw. It went 172-1, a personal best by more than 15 feet.
Thompson-Siporen, ranked second in 5A, threw 137-4.
Filippi cleared 13-6 in the pole vault, a mark he'd made three straight meets before last week's district, when he achieved a personal best of 14-1. Connor McLean of Clackamas won it at 15-0.
Filippi is in the high jump today.
Eagle Point's Austin Holmes placed sixth in the 5A boys shot put at 45-10. His teammate, Kevin VanDyke, was seventh in the 3,000 in 9:06.61.
TEAM SCORES — Jesuit 19, Gresham 17, Clackamas 16, Grants Pass 15, Oregon City 14, Sheldon 13.5, Lincoln 11.5, Grant 10, West Salem 10, South Eugene 10, Reynolds 9, Centennial 8, McMinnville 8, Central Catholic 6.5, West Linn 6, Beaverton 5, North Medford 4, Glencoe 3, Southridge 3, Thurston 2.5, Aloha 2.5, Sprague 1, McNary .5.
3,000 METERS — 1, Reilly Bloomer, South Eugene, 8:39.88; 2, Ahmed Ibrahim, Reynolds, 8:42.07; 3, Sam Truax, Central Catholic, 8:46.67.
SHOT PUT — 1, Henry Mondeaux, Jesuit, 56-10; 2, Brian Salgado, Gresham, 56-61/4; 3, Charlie Button, Centennial, 55-9; 6, Drake Brennan, Grants Pass, 50-9.
DISCUS — 1, Drake Brennan, Grants Pass, 185-3; 2, Tim Tatton, McMinnville, 163-1; 3, Henry Mondeaux, Jesuit, 156-10.
LONG JUMP — 1, Harrison Schrage, Grant, 24-11/2; 2, Tristan James, West Salem, 22-71/2; 3, Connor McLean, Clackamas, 21-63/4