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South sweeps away Roseburg

Panther boys finish up the Southern Oregon Conference regular season undefeated

Mail Tribune

You don't advance to the state meet by winning a Southern Oregon Conference dual meet track and field championship.

There are no banners that hang on the gym wall for such an accomplishment.

There are no dual meet standings in the newspaper.

But South Medford High coach Bill Rowan has always told his athletes that dual meets have their own merit, and Tuesday at Newland Track the Panther boys clinched the mythical dual meet title with an 84-61 victory over Roseburg.

The South boys finished the SOC season with a 7-0 record for only the third time in school history.

The Panther girls, meanwhile, completed their dual meet season with a 6-1 mark following a 79-67 victory over the Indians.

"If dual meets don't mean anything, then what's the point in having them?" Rowan said. "You're getting your kids prepared for the district and state meets - everyone knows that - but the dual meets are a chance for kids to have some fun, try some different events and see if they can come out on the winning end."

The South boys lack manpower in the throwing events, high jump and pole vault, but their strength on the track has carried them in every dual meet this spring.

And Tuesday was no exception as the Panthers won seven of the 10 running events, including both relays and all three sprint races.

Dan Hilgendorf culminated another banner day for the South sprinters when he held off hard-charging Brennan Garrelts on the anchor leg of the 4x400-meter relay. As he lunged across the finish line, Hilgendorf lost his footing and crashed to the track, leaving his legs, hip and chest with several nasty abrasions.

"There was no way I was going to lose that race," said Hilgendorf, who was heavily bandaged as he left the track after the meet. "I felt him (Garrelts) on my shoulder on the last curve and he was on my heels all the way down (the homestretch). It took everything I had to beat him, but it was worth it."

The Panthers won that long relay in a season's best time of 3:27.4.

Jonathan Klenke and Andres Reed went 1-2 in the 100 and 200 and each ran legs on South Medford's 4x100 relay that clocked 43.6.

Reed, who missed the first half of the season, served notice that he'll be ready for next week's district meet after running a strong anchor leg on the short relay and registering a season's best time of 22.6 in the 200.

Roseburg was led by Garrelts, who won the 110-meter high hurdles in 15.0, the 300 intermediates in 39.6 and came back with a 50-second split in the long relay.

Garrelts owns the state's fastest time in the short hurdles at 14.23.

"There was a head wind coming at us in the short hurdles, and I'm sure that affected the times," Garrelts said. "As for the intermediates, I still haven't put together a complete race. Sometimes I run well between the hurdles but don't do a good job of getting over them, and vice versa. Hopefully, it will all come together at district."

Joe Newton, the state leader in the discus at 193-8, settled for a throw of 176-8.

"I wasn't very smooth today," said Newton, who also won the shot put for the Indians with a mark of 47 feet. "I'm in a little slump right now."

One of the best races of the day came in the 800, where South Medford's Alondo Pacas ran a lifetime best of 1:59.4 to hold off Roseburg's Adam Wadsworth, who was clocked in 1:59.8.

In the girls meet, Roseburg posted nine individual wins to South Medford's eight, but the Panthers used their superior depth to notch the team victory.

Freshman sprinter Kaylyn Knutson won the 100 (13.1) and 200 (26.6) and senior Heather Frigaard claimed the 100 hurdles (15.9) and 300 hurdles (46.9) to power the South girls.

The Panthers got off to a good start when Hope Berkey outfought Taylor Jones and Carly Morris-Picknell to win the shot put with a mark of 39-2.

They ultimately clinched the meet when their 4x400 relay squad - fueled by Noi Hilgendorf's strong split - ran to victory.

Hilgendorf, who has been bothered all season by a nagging foot injury, turned a 1-meter deficit into a 10-meter lead by running a 59.2-second split on the third leg.

Hilgendorf was also able to run the 800 - her specialty - for the first time in three weeks. But her time of 2:31.8 was an agonizing reminder of the training she's lost in recent weeks.

Last season, Hilgendorf covered the 800 in a school-record time of 2:15.94 and finished fourth at the state meet.

"The 800 is iffy for district, but at least I'm able to run the relay," Hilgendorf said. "It feels good just to be out here contributing to the team.

"I'm going to do some serious rehab in the summer and see if I can get ready for my senior year."

Jennifer Lint had a big day for the Indians. The defending state champion triple jumper sailed to a season's best mark of 36-9 to win that event, added a victory in the long jump (16-71/2) and chipped in a second in the 200 and a third in the 100.

Katie Stephens set a Roseburg sophomore class record in the pole vault with a mark of 9-7. South Medford's Stephanie Anderberg cleared the same height, but Stephens won on fewer misses.

Roseburg's Brennan Garrelts, left, pulls away from South Medford's Ryan Neuenschwander in the 110-meter high hurdles at Tuesday's SOC dual meet. - Mail Tribune photo / Roy Musitelli