North jumps out to unexpected start
KLAMATH FALLS - Scott Myers has performed well in the clutch all season. Dustin Brooks joined him in that role Thursday, and North Medford rode their winning performances to get off to a good start at the Southern Oregon Conference district track meet at John H. Moehl Stadium.
Myers launched the discus 176 feet while Brooks sailed to a lifetime best of 20-10 in the long jump as the Black Tornado racked up an unexpectedly high 39 points on the opening day of the meet.
But North coach Mark Hodges had to temper his enthusiasm with the knowledge that while his team had a good day, Klamath Union had a great one.
The host Pelicans, seeking to win the district title for the first time since 1992, produced victories in the other three finals events Thursday and amassed 47 points to take the first-day lead.
Two-time defending champion Grants Pass stands third with 36.5 points, followed by Roseburg with 29.
The coed meet resumes at 11 a.m. Saturday with field events. The first running event, the 4x100 relay, is scheduled for — p.m.
"I don't know what else our guys could have done," Hodges said. "We came over here and competed like crazy. We can't control what Klamath does."
The Tornado made a killing in the long jump, with Brooks taking first, Aaron Barlow third (20-53/4) and Brian Clifton seventh (19-103/4).
All three jumpers hit personal bests as they accounted for 18 of North Medford's 39 points.
"I knew I could pop a big one if I didn't scratch," said Brooks, a junior who improved his previous best by nine inches. "I've been a little leg-weary the past few weeks, but I came in rested today and felt great."
Barlow, a junior who moved to Medford from Sacramento, Calif., last fall, and Clifton are both out for track for the first time. Barlow nearly earned himself a trip to next week's Class 4A state meet - the top two competitors in each event advance - but was edged out by Crater's Jon Barton in the final round.
Myers, meanwhile, flirted with his lifetime best of 180-1 in the discus. In fact, he thought he had it only to watch a brisk wind prematurely knock his platter to the turf.
"I think that was my best throw all year," Myers said. "My coaches said my form was perfect. But the wind knocked it down just as it was starting to sail out there.
"The wind was doing weird things all day."
Myers tweaked his back in practice early this week and was worried he'd be less than 100 percent for Thursday's competition. But a trip to the chiropractor eased his pain.
Roseburg's Joe Newton, who beat Myers for the district discus title last season, launched a lifetime best throw of 170-4 to finish second.
The biggest surprise of the day came in the pole vault, where Klamath Union's Justin Fay leaped over the bar at 14 feet to edge out Eagle Point freshman Robbie Johnston and the Grants Pass triumvirate of Kyle Hayes, Dustin Boehm and Victor Daugherty.
For Fay, it was a PR by six inches. Never mind that the crossbar bounced on its supports three or four times and yet remained aloft.
In Thursday's other boys finals, Klamath's Carson Drew pulled a mild upset to win the high jump, clearing an all-time best of 6-6, while Jacob Gomez crushed the competition in the 3,000, hitting the tape in 8:47.13.
Jimmy Addison added a third-place showing in the 3,000 for KU and freshman Kevin Pellegrino was seventh, giving the Pelicans 18 points in the event.
"We definitely picked up some points today that we didn't expect," Klamath Union coach Mike Herron said. "We knew Fay and Drew were capable of winning, but so were a lot of other kids in those events.
"It was an exciting day for us and hopefully we'll build on this momentum Saturday."
South Medford didn't score big points in the long jump as expected, but sprinters Justin Baldoni, Jonathan Klenke and Andres Reed all qualified for the finals in both the 100 and 200.
Baldoni clocked a school-record time of 10.7 in the 100 during Thursday's preliminary race.
The Panthers also got a good effort from senior Matt Rowan, who cleared 13 feet in the pole vault, a PR by a foot. Rowan finished seventh in the event.
TEAM SCORES - Klamath Union 47, North Medford 39, Grants Pass 36.5, Roseburg 29, Crater 13.5, South Medford 13, Eagle Point 11, Ashland 6.
DISCUS - x-1, Scott Myers, NM, 176-0. x-2, Joe Newton, R, 170-4. 3, Dan Johnson, NM, 153-0. 4, Cameron Gallop, SM, 147-0. 5, Casey McIntosh, GP, 146-8. 6, Brian Helman, C, 142-1. 7, Justin Baehman, NM, 137-4. 8, Chris Dearmon, C, 135-2.
HIGH JUMP - x-1, Carson Drew, KU, 6-6. x-2, Luke Lathen, GP, 6-4. 3, Zack Tucker, KU, 6-2. 4, Tremayne Hawthorne, R, 6-0. 5, Conway Bixby, R, 5-8. 6, Steve Burke, EP, 5-8. 7, tie, Ben Park, C, and Tom Martin, GP, 5-8.
POLE VAULT - x-1, Justin Fay, KU, 14-0. x-2, Robbie Johnston, EP, 13-8. 3, Kyle Hayes, GP, 13-8. 4, Dustin Boehm, GP, 13-8. 5, Victor Daugherty, GP, 13-4. 6, Jon Fay, KU, 13-0. 7, Matt Rowan, SM, 13-0. 8, Ezra Kemp, A, 12-8.
LONG JUMP - x-1, Dustin Brooks, NM, 20-10. x-2, Jon Barton, C, 20-7 3/4. 3, Aaron Barlow, NM, 20-5 3/4. 4, Matt Cameron, GP, 20-4. 5, Justin Baldoni, SM, 20-0 1/4. 6, Jeff LaLonde, GP, 19-11 1/2. 7, Brian Clifton, NM, 19-10 3/4. 8, Kelly King, SM, 19-10.
3,000 METERS - x-1, Jake Gomez, KU, 8:47.13. x-2, Chris Roberts, R, 9:14.82. 3, Jimmy Addison, KU, 9:18.32. 4, Chris Faudree, A, 9:19.35. 5, Adam Wadsworth, R, 9:26.64. 6, Kedrick Charlton, NM, 9:34.65. 7, Kevin Pellegrino, KU, 9:38.98. 8, Alando Pacos, SM, 9:40.48.