EUGENE — Winning never gets old for Phoenix junior Elliot Jantzer.

EUGENE — Winning never gets old for Phoenix junior Elliot Jantzer.

OK, maybe just a little.

Jantzer ran away with the Class 4A 3,000-meter title on Thursday at the University of Oregon's Hayward Field during the Class 6A/5A/4A state track and field meet.

The title is Jantzer's second straight in the 3,000. He will look to defend his 1,500 title on Saturday, and also has a cross country state title in his collection from last fall.

"This race wasn't as exciting as it was last year as a sophomore," Jantzer said after running 8 minutes, 40.47 seconds — 13 seconds ahead of second-place Spenser Lynass of North Bend. "But it was exciting to show that I could do it against everyone at the same meet. There is more than just winning. I want to post times, and 8:40 is not an accurate representation of what I'm capable of."

Jantzer's season best in the 3,000 is 8:37.60, but he spent much of the time Thursday running by himself.

"I can't say I'm disappointed, but I'm looking for another level," Jantzer said.

That's the response those close to him have come to expect.

"He's not one to bubble over in enthusiasm," Phoenix coach Hans Voskes said. "He has a unique focus and mind-set that you don't run into very often."

For good measure, Jantzer helped Phoenix qualify in the 4x400 relay and will also enter the 400, searching for yet another title.

"We'll see what happens," Jantzer said. "Coach calls it (the 400) dessert; it's just something else to compete in."

A potentially risky decision paid huge dividends on Thursday for Ashland senior Matt Miner, who won the Class 5A 3,000.

Miner opted out of the 800 — an event he would have been the top seed in with the fastest time in Class 5A — and chose to compete in the 3,000. He held the third fastest time coming in but finished in 8:42.39, holding off a late charge by Marshfield's Jared Bassett (8:42.99) for his first state title.

"It was a tough decision to make," Miner said of competing in the 3,000 instead of the 800. "The fact that this make," Miner said of competing in the 3,000 instead of the 800. "The fact that this (the 3,000) isn't what I do normally and to come out and perform like that shows that I've developed a lot of strength this season."

Miner's time breaks the Class 5A meet record set last season by Crater's Jake Keyser (8:45.47).

Miner, who is headed to NCAA Division I Dartmouth College, admitted being a little unfocused at the start of the race, but he kept pace and managed to outkick the pack.

"A little bit of me was hoping for a tactical race," Miner said. "I'm glad that worked out."

Titles by Jantzer and Miner in the 3,000 highlighted the first day of action at the state meet for area teams.

Class 5A Crater had the strongest overall showing, with three placers and qualifying its boys 4x100 relay team (44.37) and its girls 4x400 relay team (4:07.59) to Saturday's finals.

Crater juniors Kayleigh Tyerman and Holly Haga earned second-place finishes, and the Comet girls sit in second among Class 5A teams with 21 points. Crook County is in first with 26.

Tyerman, whose specialty is the 800, bettered her personal record in the 3,000 by more than 13 seconds on Thursday by running 10:18.44, good for second behind Crook County's Michelly Foley (10:04.97).

"I'm very happy with what I did," Tyerman said. "I would rather PR than place."

Tyerman's teammate, Emily Olsen, took fourth in the 3,000 in 10:34.84.

Haga also set a personal best in the discus with a throw of 121 feet, 5 inches coming on her final attempt of the day. Crook County's Kady Stafford took first with a throw of 123-0.

"I was praying," Haga said of releasing her last throw. "It feels great."

Crater sophomore Josh Elliot placed fourth in the 3,000 in a time of 8:50.25.

At the Class 6A level, North Medford senior Brock Bennett took sixth in the javelin with a throw of 171-7, and sophomore Drew Jordan took seventh in the 3,000 with a personal-best time of 8:56.17.

North Medford's boys are in 10th after the first day with five points, 10 back of Gresham.

Both Black Tornado relay teams — the girls 4x100 and the boys 4x100 — failed to qualify in preliminaries.

It's been a difficult week for North after losing friend and teammate Sam Safotu, a high jumper who drowned last Saturday in the Applegate River.

South Medford's Piper Delaney was the Panthers' lone placer, taking third in the 3,000 in 10:07.78.

Ashland qualified its girls 4x400 relay team, which finished in 4:07.68, the sixth best time in the preliminaries.

Eagle Point also qualified its boys 4x400 relay team, which ran the seventh fastest time of 3:29.71.

Rogue River's Joe Christie placed seventh in the long jump with a mark of 21-61/4, and teammate Cole Watson qualified in the 800 with a time of 1:59.89.

Other notable finishers included Henley's Taylor Wallace, who earned her fifth overall title and third straight in the 3,000 at 9:58.30.

North Valley's Paul Gutzman in the shot put (50-0) and Hidden Valley's Ashley Seal in the long jump (17-1/2;) earned fourth.

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