Not that Emma Bennion needs a new strategy to win races, but she tried one just the same on Saturday.

It’s modeled after the look-good, play-good philosophy.

The St. Mary’s sophomore succeeded on both counts in the 63rd Medford Rotary Relays track and field meet at North Medford High’s Bowerman Field.

She was the lone athlete, girl or boy, to win two individual events, claiming the 1,500 meters and the 300 intermediate hurdles — the latter a particularly grueling event.

“My goal was to make sure I looked like I was enjoying it,” said Bennion, “because I think if you’re smiling whenever you do something, you’re happier when you do it, and maybe if I look like I’m enjoying running, I’ll run faster.”

She runs pretty fast as it is, having won the Class 3A intermediate hurdles state title last spring.

On this day, when rain and a mild breeze occasionally hit the athletes in the 18-school extravaganza, she claimed the 1,500 in a personal-best 5 minutes, 3.67 seconds, and the 300 hurdles in 47.77 seconds.

Grants Pass won the boys and girls team titles, taking the former with 105.59 points and the latter with 107.92. Hidden Valley was second in each, while the Cascade Christian boys and Lakeview girls were third.

Despite the conditions, several meet records were set, including another by the perennially strong Crater boys distance crew.

With star junior Andy Monroe anchoring the quartet with a 1:56 split, the 4x800 relay squad bested the meet mark with a time of 8:08.98, more than three seconds faster than the standard Ashland set in 2012 (8:12.39).

The other records were by Albert Hesse of Ridgeview, who broke his own mark in the 1,500 in 4:15.97, and the Grants Pass girls in the high jump relay, with Aubree Esterline, Brooke Johnson and Makayla Sikahema matching the record of 15 feet set by the Cavers last year.

Bennion’s performance was impressive on several counts. She rarely runs the 1,500, having done so only once last year, but coach Joe Volk indicated it could happen more often.

Running against girls from mostly larger schools, she took it out fast and led into the second lap, then throttled down.

“I wanted to see if I was going out too fast, so I kind of let my competition stay with me, or kind of go ahead of me,” she said. “Then when I felt like I could go faster, I surged for it. And it worked for me.”

She won by seven seconds over South Medford’s Lydia Scott. Third place was another 7½ seconds back.

She also was curious how she stacked up in the intermediates and wasn’t disappointed. She won by more than a second over Lakeview’s Brette Graham.

Bennion’s time was only 3/10ths of a second off the personal record she set in winning state last year.

“It was great for the beginning of the season,” she said.

Crater, meanwhile, proved once again it doesn’t have an aversion to records.

“Records are nice,” said Monroe.

Last year, the Comets zeroed in on the distance medley relay and broke the record.

This time it was the 4x800. Ditto the results.

Tripp turned in an opening 800 of 2:01, then Tostenson and Hokanson each ran 2:05s.

That left plenty of cushion for Monroe, who captured Class 5A state championships last spring in the 1,500 and 3,000 and last fall in cross country.

“It’s exciting because we haven’t been on the track for a while,” said Monroe.

The Comets haven’t focused on speed work, yet, he said, “so for the performance we put out on the track today, we just prepared with our normal workouts the last couple years, and we’re right where we need to be.”

Ashland was second in 8:15.33, and South Medford third in 8:24.81.

Other local individual winners in the boys meet were Crater’s Cal Duke in the 300 hurdles in 41.04, Ashland’s Jeremiah Sherrynewby, who went 12-6 in the pole vault; and Ben Dunn of Cascade Christian, who won the high jump at 5-10.

The South Medford shuttle hurdles relay squad of Jared Buckman, Anthony Figueroa, Blaine Johnson and Sam Cutting won in 51.85.

Local girl winners were North Medford’s Jaida Ross in the discus (107-0), Ashland javelin thrower Myla Norvell (120-10), Ashland’s Emily Thomason in the pole vault (8-6) and Cascade Christian shot-putter Sarah Johnston (36-7½).

Phoenix’s distance medley relay team of Shayla Potratz, Brittney Manahan, Lupita Alegria and Danielle Jantzer triumphed in 13:53.43.

BOYS

TEAM SCORES: Grants Pass 105.59, Hidden Valley 102.94, Cascade Christian 80.29, South Medford 77.96, Crater 74.26, Ashland 64.92, Phoenix 62.93, Roseburg 57.95, Henley 56.92, Douglas 53.98, Lakeview 52.3, Ridgeview 43.25, Eagle Point 39.65, North Medford 24.98, Triad Christian 24.33, Red Bluff 23.98, St. Mary’s 20.

1,500 — 1, Albert Hesse, Ridgeview, 4:15.97; 2, Luke Ramirez, South Medford, 4:21.67; 3, Reed Hungerford, South Medford, 4:22.17.

300 HURDLES — 1, Cal Duke, Crater, 41.04; 2, Austin Green, Hidden Valley, 43.52; 3, Jacob Marshall, Eagle Point, 43.56.

4x100 RELAY — 1, Grants Pass (Blain Hobbs, Mark Hubbard, Randy Clark, Jaren Emptage), 44.38; 2, Eagle Point, 44.63; 3, South Medford, 44.82.

4X200 RELAY — 1, Grants Pass (Blain Hobbs, Mark Hubbard, Jaren Emptage, Ethan Moe), 1:32.92; 2, Eagle Point, 1:35.36; 3, Ashland, 1:36.28.

4X400 RELAY — 1, Grants Pass (Nathan Burton, Alex Jarvis, William Gross, Ethan Moe), 3:29.89; 2, South Medford, 3:31.61; 3, Ashland, 3:32.35.

4X800 RELAY — 1, Crater (Derek Tripp, Jantz Tostenson, Griff Hokanson, Andy Monroe), 8:08.98; 2, Ashland, 8:15.33; 3, South Medford, 8:24.81

DISTANCE MEDLEY RELAY — 1, Grants Pass (Barrett Titus, William Gross, Nathan Burton, Daniel Beckstead), 10:43.09; 2, Ashland, 10:48.23; 3, Crater, 11:22.50.

4X110 SHUTTLE HURDLES — 1, South Medford (Jared Buckman, Anthony Figueroa, Blaine Johnson, Sam Cutting), 51.85; 2, Hidden Valley, 52.29; 3, Crater, 53.37.

SHOT PUT — 1, Tyler Sconce, Roseburg, 52-10.50; 2, Brent Yeakey, Ridgeview, 52-9.25; 3, Tre Holmes, North Medford, 48-3.25.

DISCUS — 1, Calvin Claassen, Grants Pass, 155-1; 2, Brent Yeakey, Ridgeview, 144-4; 3, Kegan Richards, Red Bluff, 132-3.

JAVELIN — 1, Dalton Rasmussen, Roseburg, 160-11; 2, Samuel Tibbetts, Roseburg, 150-7; 3, Troy Boyd, Ashland, 145-0.

HIGH JUMP — 1, Ben Dunn, Cascade Christian, 5-10; 2, Stephen Willey, Grants Pass, 5-8; T3, Max Jung, Douglas, 5-6, and Jordan Smith, Roseburg, 5-6, and Arturo Veloz, South Medford, 5-6, and Randy Clark, Grants Pass, 5-6.

POLE VAULT — 1, Jeremiah Sherrynewby, Ashland, 12-6; T2, Ian Rinefort, Ashland, 12-0, and Zack Williams, Grants Pass, 12-0.

LONG JUMP — 1, Elijah Castro, Hidden Valley, 29-9.25; 2, Zach Booker, Cascade Christian, 20-5.25; 3, Jacob Wilson, Crater, 19-9.25.

TRIPLE JUMP — 1, Luke Lambson, Grants Pass, 41-7.50; 2, Zach Booker, Cascade Christian, 40-10.75; 3, Niko Phillips, Grants Pass, 39-7.50.

GIRLS

TEAM SCORES: Grants Pass 107.92, Hidden Valley 78.97, Lakeview 75.27, North Medford 74.96, Phoenix 69.96, Henley 69.95, Crater 61.6, South Medford 56.24, Ashland 55.3, Ridgeview 55.28, Cascade Christian 48.97, Roseburg 48.95, St. Mary’s 38.6, Triad Christian 29.98, Douglas 27.98, Eagle Point 25.97, Red Bluff 18.31.

1,500 — 1, Emma Bennion, St. Mary’s, 5:03.67; 2, Lydia Scott, South Medford, 5:10.81; 3, Gabi Wisnovsky, South Medford, 5:18.34.

4x100 HURDLES — 1, Grants Pass (Hailey Westbrook, Keelyn Cole, Deshae Wise, Abby Durrant), 51.00; 2, Hidden Valley, 57.07; 3, Ashland, 57.08.

300 HURDLES — 1, Emma Bennion, St. Mary’s, 47.77; 2, Brette Graham, Lakeview, 48.82; 3, Megan Boone, Red Bluff, 51.49.

4x100 RELAY — 1, Grants Pass (Molly Guerra, Deshae Wise, Hailey Westbrook, Lindsey Bonney), 50.56; 2, Hidden Valley, 52.24; 3, Ridgeview, 52.39.

4X200 RELAY — 1, Grants Pass (Camdyn Bruner, Lindsey Bonney, Brooke Johnson, Deshae Wise), 1:50.60; 2, Roseburg, 1:53.65; 3, Henley 1:53.73.

4X400 RELAY — 1, Grants Pass (Ayla Klingler, Ahdra Klingler, Brooke Johnson, Deshae Wise), 4:14.18; 2, North Medford, 4:18.74; 3, Roseburg, 4:25.34.

4X800 RELAY — 1, Grants Pass (Samantha Dara, Ayla Klingler, Emily Bath, Ahdra Klingler), 10:21.06; 2, Crater, 10:22.73; 3, South Medford, 10:38.20

DISTANCE MEDLEY RELAY — 1, Phoenix (Shayla Potratz, Brittney Manahan, Lupita Alegria, Danielle Jantzer), 13:53.43; 2, Crater, 14:02.53; 3, Ashland, 14:02.99.

SHOT PUT — 1, Sarah Johnston, Cascade Christian, 36-7.50; 2, Emily Shaw, North Medford, 35-11; 3, Jaida Ross, North Medford, 35-10.75.

DISCUS — 1, Jaida Ross, North Medford, 107-0; 2, Abbey Alexander, Cascade Christian, 98-2; 3, Molly Guerra, Grants Pass, 92-6.

JAVELIN — 1, Myla Norvell, Ashland, 120-10; 2, Anna Lorenz, North Medford, 110-7; 3, Kamaile Kaeo, North Medford, 105-9.

HIGH JUMP — T1, Aubree Esterline, Grants Pass, 5-4, and Emily Stephens, Cascade Christian, 5-4; 3, Lyndee McLauchlin, Henley, 5-2.

POLE VAULT — 1, Emily Thomason, Crater, 8-6; 2, Fiona Keller, Grants Pass, 8-0; 3, Summer Keating, St. Mary’s, 7-6.

LONG JUMP — 1, Gabi Crouch, Ridgeview, 15-7.75; 2, Mayah Pappas, Roseburg, 15-5.25; 3, Jane Ersepke, North Medford, 15-5.

TRIPLE JUMP — 1, Camdyn Bruner, Grants Pass, 32-1; 2, Meghan Cowan, North Medford, 31-10.75; 3, Isabel Verduzco, Roseburg, 31-6.75.

Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or email ttrower@mailtribune.com