Track and field state competitions come down to one hard-to-gauge aspect, South Medford coach Bill Rowan said.

Track and field state competitions come down to one hard-to-gauge aspect, South Medford coach Bill Rowan said.

It boils down to desire.

"You've just got to get out and battle," Rowan said. "You've got to compete. At this point, everyone there has been training. It's just a matter of who can compete with heart.

"There's also an element of luck. Hopefully we keep our fingers crossed."

There will be a host of area track standouts hoping to cap the season with a strong showing at the University of Oregon's historic Hayward Field in Eugene beginning today through Saturday in the Class 6A/5A/4A state track and field meet.

South Medford has eight competitors in 10 events and North Medford will send 13 competitors for 15 events at the Class 6A level.

The North girls are led by sophomore sprinter Baylee Hearns, ranked third in the 100-meter dash (12.08 seconds) and seeded eighth in the 200 (25.72). She captured first in both events at the Southwest Conference district meet last weekend.

The top eight competitors in each event place and score team points. The top four teams earn trophies.

Senior Brock Bennett is the highest ranked among the Black Tornado boys. He's seeded fifth in the javelin, his top throw being 181 feet. He'll also compete as the 11th seed in the discus (138-9).

South Medford junior Rebecca Viets is ranked third in the triple jump at 36-71/2. The leader in that event, Trianna Miranda of Southridge has jumped 37-4 this season.

"Rebecca's got the best shot of placing the highest," Rowan said. "She's a real competitor. I suspect she will do well."

That Panthers' boys highest-ranked competitor is senior Joey Nelson, seeded 11th in a tough 1,500 field that features Lincoln's Nathan Mathabane, who holds the state's best time at 3:55.10. Nelson's personal best this season is 4:05.27.

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Class 5A

The Crater girls boast the strongest case for a team trophy, with competitors ranked fifth or better in seven events. Kayleigh Tyerman, a junior who placed in the 1,500 last season, is ranked first in the 800 with a Class 5A-best time of 2:17.77. She'll be pushed by Summit junior Alyssa O'Connor, who missed last season with an injury but ran 2:16.30 as a freshman.

Tyerman is also ranked second in the 3,000 with a time of 10:31.86. The top seed in that event, boasting a personal-best time of 10:15.70, is Crook County's Michelly Foley.

"She (Tyerman) has done it a couple times and decided that was a better combo for the state meet," said Crater coach Justin Loftus of Tyerman's choice to run the 800 and 3,000. "She's going to have a tough battle. But she's come on all year and it seems like every week it gets a little better."

Crater senior Emily Olsen is the third seed in the 1,500, her best time being 4:54.58, and is also third in the 3,000 with a personal record of 10:35.07.

Junior Holly Haga is second in the discus, her top throw this season being 118 feet.

Senior Cheree Clark is third in the javelin but it'll be difficult to surpass top seed Michelle Coombs of Hermiston or Tauni Powell of Thurston. Clark's best mark this season is 134 feet while Coombs has thrown 155-10 and Powell 141-11. Clark's best throw of her career is 139-11, occurring during her sophomore campaign.

Crater's 4x400 relay team is seeded fifth (4:08.34).

"We've got a good shot to trophy," Loftus said. "But we've said that before. It just depends on if they show up."

Josh Elliott will compete alongside Ashland senior Matt Miner as the fourth seed in the boys 3,000 and Crater's 4x100 relay team is also ranked fourth.

Miner is eyeing two state titles for the Grizzlies. He's the third seed, based on district meet times, in both the 1,500 and 3,000. Miner owns the Class 5A top time this season in the 1,500, running 3:57.61, but his top time of 8:49:90 in the 3,000 is eight seconds off the top seed and Marshfield senior Jared Bassett's season best.

"He's got a shot," Ashland coach Bob Julian Sr. said of Miner. "It will be tougher in the 3,000. But he could conceivably be right there in both of them. As well as he's been running, it (the 3,000) will be a great race."

Ashland senior Aria Hemphill is the fourth seed in the girls 1,500 with a season-best time of 4:53.27 and is a member of the fourth-seeded Grizzlies' 4x400 relay team. That team also features senior Jordan Kling, who is the fifth-seed in the long jump (16-91/2) and sixth in the 400 (1:00.11).

Eagle Point senior Jacob Ringrose holds the top times in the 110 hurdles (15.03) and 300 hurdles (39.71). Both look to be hotly contested races. Ringrose won both events at the Southern Sky Conference district meet. The highest ranked among the Eagles' girls is junior Cady Landmann, seeded sixth in the high jump (5-2).

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Class 4A

Distance phenom Elliot Jantzer, a junior from Phoenix, returns to the state meet to defend his 1,500 and 3,000 titles. He is the top seed in the 1,500 with a Class 4A-best time of 4:00.25. Though he is seeded fifth in the 3,000 by virtue of running 9:21.82 through blistering heat at the Skyline Conference district meet, Jantzer owns the state's second-best time of 8:37.60. Jantzer will also push for a state title in the 400 and his personal best of 49.91 in that event is one second behind top-seeded Danny Staats of Henley.

Jantzer will compete on Phoenix's 4x400 team, ranked fourth with a time of 3:29.08.

Senior Anne Hagy is Phoenix's only girls competitor. She is ranked eighth in the 1,500.

Rogue River sophomore Cole Watson will challenge Jantzer for Class 4A distance supremacy. Watson is ranked second in the 1,500 with a top time of 4:02.84 and is the third seed in the 800, though his season-best time of 1:55.30 ranks second in Class 4A only to Jantzer.

"He's hunting for a state title," Rogue River distance coach J.J. Moses said. "He's definitely going to give Elliot everything he's got. He's feeling pretty confident."

Watson's teammate and senior Joe Christie is seeded fourth in the long jump and fifth in the 100.

Senior Whitney Dunlap will be the lone representative for the Rogue River girls. She is the 10th seed in the discus with a mark of 103-7.

Other area notables include Illinois Valley's Larry Ragsdale, the top seed in the 300 hurdles, North Valley's top-seeded 4x100 relay team, Hidden Valley's Connor Kasler, the second seed in the 800, Illinois Valley's third-ranked 4x400 relay team, North Valley's Paul Gutzman, the fourth seed in the shot put, and Illinois Valley's Robert Parsons, seeded fifth in the discus.

North Valley's Taylor Vandehey is the top-ranked girl in the 300 hurdles, while Hidden Valley's Ashley Seal is the third seed in the long jump and triple jump.

Reach reporter Luke Andrews at 776-4469, or e-mail landrews@mailtribune.com