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-- Janette Martin

I've — been pointing my whole season toward today and I did about what I expected to do. The 400 — has always been my best race, and I knew if I went out hard that no one could catch — me.

— — South Medford state champ

— — —

South's Martin captures state 400 title

EUGENE finished her high school career in triumphant fashion at the Class 4A state track and field meet here Saturday.

Martin won the 400-meter dash, added a third in the 200 and tacked on a fifth in the 100 to lead South Medford to a tie for sixth place in the team standings.

Martin personally scored 20 of South Medford's 26 points on a sun-splashed day at Hayward Field.

As expected, Benson Tech of Portland ran away with the team title, scoring 68 points. Jesuit of Portland was second (39), followed by McKay of Salem (34), Westview of Beaverton (31) and La Grande (30). South Medford and Lake Oswego each tallied 26 points.

I've been pointing my whole season toward today, and I did about what I expected to do, said Martin, who earned a track scholarship to the University of Oregon earlier this spring. The 400 has always been my best race and I knew if I went out hard that no one could catch me.

Martin did just that, running a sizzling opening 200 meters and then churning down the home stretch to win in 56.99. Benson's Janita Jones was a distant second in 57.47 and Klamath Union sophomore Sarah Schaaf was third in 58.40.

Janette usually doesn't run the opening 200 as hard as she did today but that's something we talked about before the race, South Medford coach Bill Rowan said. We didn't want a slow pace and give someone with blazing speed a chance to nip her at the end. The strategy was to go out hard.

Martin's time was more than a half-second slower than her lifetime best of 56.33, but considering she ran seven races in two days at the state meet -- counting preliminaries -- it was plenty fast.

Martin also looked strong in the 200, blowing past a couple of runners over the final 25 meters to take third in 25.30, which tied her personal record.

And she didn't fare badly in the 100, clocking 12.55 and ending up just th of a second behind both the third- and fourth-place finishers. Jennifer Abbott of North Medford finished eighth (12.90).

I wasn't ranked among the state leaders in the 100 all season, so I'm happy to get what I got in that, Martin said. I got a great start and knew I was up there with most of the other girls at the end, but I had no idea where I finished until they posted the results.

Kristin Russell, South Medford's other big hope for a blue ribbon, had to settle for fourth place in the pole vault even though she tied her PR with a mark of 11 feet, 4 inches.

Russell went the same height as runner-up Corrie Drakulich of Clackamas and third-place finisher Jordan Crossfield of Roseburg, but lost out on fewer misses.

Dana Huseby of Hood River cleared 11-8 to win the event for the third straight year, breaking the meet record.

Russell had a good performance but just happened to run into some other great vaulters, Rowan said. The (girls) pole vault keeps getting tougher and tougher.

Stacy Lambert provided the Panthers with their final point, finishing eighth in the high jump at 5-2.

Meanwhile, Ashland's Paris Edwards, who lost to La Grande's Mariel Ettinger in the 1,500 by fractions of a second last year, had to settle for third Saturday.

Ettinger went out hard, kept the pressure on and triumphed in a lung-busting 4:31.04, the fastest time in the event since Sunset's Liz Becker clocked 4:28.48 in 1985.

Edwards was in good position to take second but Jesuit's Laura Harmon zipped past just a few meters from the finish. Harmon ran 4:34.8 and Edwards 4:35.31, a time that was three seconds faster than Ettinger's winning time a year ago.

I lost contact on the second and third laps and couldn't make it up, said a teary-eyed Edwards, who beat Ettinger at the Gladstone Meet of Champions last month. And then at the end I lost my concentration and the other girl (Harmon) went past me, too.

I came so close to winning last year and I really thought I'd win today. But I let her (Ettinger) get away from me.

Ashland coach Bob Julian said his sophomore distance runner learned a valuable lesson and will come back stronger next year.

The plan was to reel Ettinger in with 800 meters to go, but Edwards was five seconds behind at that point, Julian said. At Gladstone she was only two seconds behind and got her (Ettinger) with her kick. One thing about Paris, she learns from her mistakes. You won't see her do that again.

Ashland's Deborah Lee failed to match her lifetime best of 37 feet in the triple jump accomplished at last week's Southern Oregon Conference district meet, but went a respectable 36-2 and finished fourth.

I got my best mark on my first jump of the day and so I was hoping for better things to come, Lee said. But I'm happy. My goal was simply to place.

The only other notable performance on an otherwise mediocre day for the SOC girls came from Klamath Union's Schaaf. She followed up her fine performance in the 400 with a great anchor leg in the 1,600 relay as she rallied the Pelicans to a runner-up showing. Benson won the event in 3:58.20, while KU was clocked in a season's best 4:01.81.

Benson also won the 400 relay and picked up big points from Awen'lue Kanta and Olivia Callier, who went 2-3 in the 100 hurdles, and from Jones, who followed up her second-place effort in the 400 with a second in the 200.