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It's a Dunn deal as North triumphs

Tornado runner upsets Custance

Nick Dunn has run the 800 meters only a handful of times during his track and field career, but the North Medford High junior ran a strategically sound race to stun South Medford's Perry Custance at Bowerman Field Thursday.

Dunn normally runs the 400 and the 300-meter hurdles, where he owns the fastest times in the Southern Oregon Conference this spring. But he asked his coaches for a shot at Custance, who came into the meet with the third-best 800 time in the state at 1:55.9.

Thursday wasn't a good day for running due to gusting winds that reached 25 mph, but the duel between Custance and Dunn was a dandy.

Dunn was content to let the more experienced Custance lead throughout the first lap, but never trailed by more than five or six yards. The gap closed a bit down the backstretch of the final lap and Custance fought furiously to keep his lead as the pair rounded the final turn.

Dunn narrowed the gap some more and then, with 50 yards to go, burst past the South runner and triumphed in 1:59.6.

Custance was clocked in 1:59.8.

This race was all about strategy, said Dunn, who also won the 300 hurdles and ran a leg on North Medford's winning relay squads. I've seen Perry run a lot and I know he likes to run a fast first lap. So I hung back -- but not too far back -- and waited for the right time to kick.

With 50 yards to go I knew I had him.

Dunn doesn't normally run the 800 because only one event separates that event and the 300 hurdles. He had only 15 minutes to recover from his all-out effort against Custance before he stepped into the blocks for the 300 hurdles, which he won in 42.3.

Dunn is not afraid to take on anybody, North Medford coach Ron Toombs said. If I asked him to give the 3,000 a try I know he would.

It was his idea to run against Custance today. I know some of our people didn't think he'd win, but I guess somebody forgot to tell Nick.

Led by Dunn's four victories, the North Medford boys shellacked South, 96-48. It marked the first time in five years that the Black Tornado boys have beaten the Panthers.

The South Medford girls were equally dominant as they pinned a 94-51 defeat on their crosstown rivals and kept their streak alive of never losing to the Tornado in a dual meet.

Almost lost in Dunn's big win was a Herculean performance by North Medford's Scott Myers in the discus. The 6-foot, 260-pound sophomore hurled the implement 162-feet, 7-inches, the fourth-best throw in the state this spring.

Myers launched another throw that measured 162-5 and a third toss that exceeded 158 feet. All three surpassed his previous best of 156-9.

The wind was coming right at me but I was able to use it to my advantage by keeping the discus down, Myers said. I really gave it a ride today and had a good series. It felt great.

Myers taught himself to throw the discus and shot put by checking a book out of the library when he was in the seventh grade. This season marks the first time that Myers, who transferred to North Medford from Stayton earlier this year, has ever had a throwing coach.

Myers' new mentor -- Mike Schaan -- has introduced new techniques and shown him video of world-class discus throwers and shot-putters.

He's done a remarkable job on his own -- he's really a natural, Schaan said. The main thing I'm trying to do is bring out the power in him. He's been a whip thrower in the past. He's quick in the ring and has good footwork. But if we can add some power to his finesse then you're going to see the whole package and that's scary.

Myers also won the shot put Thursday, but his top mark of 48 feet was far below his lifetime best of 52-5 set earlier this season.

He keeps doing great in one event and not so great in the other, Schaan said. We're hoping by district that Scott can put together real good marks in both events.

The North Medford boys won 11 of the 17 events including a sweep in the 400 to rack up their fifth victory in six SOC meets. The Tornado's only loss was to Grants Pass.

These boys are just scrappy as heck, Toombs said. Going into the season we thought our girls would be the better of the two teams, but it hasn't worked out that way.

Dunn has been our catalyst and of course Myers has been a big help, but guys like Kelly Jantzer have taken the track by storm. It's been a fun year.

Jantzer was his steady self Thursday. He won the triple jump (39-9) and finished second in the 110 high hurdles (15.8) and high jump (5-10).

South Medford's big gun was Jon Micah Sumrall, who won the 100 (11.2), 110 hurdles (15.5) and long jump (19-3).

In the girls competition, Kylie Healy won the shot put (37-4) and discus (120-3) to lead the Panthers.

South Medford freshman Heather Frigaard ran a lifetime best of 48.9 to win the 300 hurdles.

The wind took the luster out of the meet as far as the times and the marks, South Medford coach Bill Rowan said, although there were a couple of exceptions.

Dunn and Myers come to mind.