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Johnston on a new high

Eagle Point vaulter clears 16 feet to break the district meet record

ASHLAND ' As the bar wobbled above him after a brush with his belly, Robbie Johnston threw his hands in the air triumphantly and smiled broadly.

The Eagle Point High pole vaulter had just cleared 16 feet and broken the meet record by 10 inches at the Southern Oregon Conference district track and field meet Thursday at Southern Oregon University.

This feels great ' I've been waiting for that one all year, said Johnston, a junior who owns the state's No. — mark in the vault. I brushed the bar on my way up and made it wobble, but not enough to make it fall off.

— The boys pole vault was the marquee event on the opening day of the SOC meet, but the combination of adrenaline and warm weather generated some other outstanding marks.

North Medford junior David Faaeteete improved his lifetime best by nearly 14 feet in the discus and posted the state's third-best throw at 167-6. Teammate Dan O'Brien, also a junior, finished second at 161-2 and improved his previous best by a whopping 22 feet. Black Tornado sophomore Steve Johnson chipped in with a 152-foot toss, good for fourth place.

South Medford also got into the act with long jumpers Tyler King and Jonathan Klenke, who went 1-2 in that event with personal-record leaps of 22-0&

189; and 21-7&

189; .

On the girls' side of the coed affair, Eagle Point's Alyssa Lee reached an all-time best of 38 feet to win the shot put.

But the main stage belonged to Johnston, who shattered the previous meet record of 15-2 set in 1996 by Roseburg's Gary Vance.

Interestingly, Johnston cleared his record height on a pole he borrowed from Roseburg vault coach Jim Moyer. The Roseburg pole was a bit stiffer than the one Johnston had used earlier Thursday.

It made a difference, Johnston said. It sprang me higher.

And he (Moyer) told me to keep it for the state meet.

After clearing 16, Johnston raised the bar to 16-4 and was over it on his third attempt, only to come down on top of it.

I wasn't able to bend the (Roseburg) pole quite as much as I'd like, Johnston said. I probably should have moved the standards in a little closer and then I probably wouldn't have hit the bar on the way down.

But when you do that, you run the risk of landing in the box, and that can get ugly.

Klamath Union's Jon Fay finished second with a vault of 15-0 while Grants Pass' Victor Daugherty hit the state qualifying standard of 14-6 for third place and will join the other two at the Class 4A state meet next week in Eugene.

Faaeteete, meanwhile, registered his winning throw on his final attempt after O'Brien had led the discus competition most of the way.

Faaeteete credited improved technique for his big throw.

I've had a tendency to throw before I've gotten my left leg down, and that was taking away all my power, the 6-foot-3, 270-pound Faaeteete said. Today, I got my hips and shoulders into my throws a lot better.

It felt great.

O'Brien also polished up his technique, North Medford throws coach Mike Schaan said.

Dan's had trouble staying balanced, but he's been throwing well in practice lately and it carried over to today, Schaan said. He kept an upright posture and that allowed him to use those long levers of his.

It looked like Dan was going to pull this thing out but David's a great competitor and he got him on his last throw. It was fun to watch them go at it.

South Medford's King and Klenke waged their own friendly duel in the long jump and upset top-seeded Kory Mahr of Grants Pass along the way.

Last year I came in with the No. 2 ranking and got seventh ' that wasn't going to happen today, said King, a junior whose mark of 22-0&

189; Thursday was a lifetime best by 7&

189; inches. I came in a lot more confident this year.

While King's victory wasn't much of a surprise, Klenke getting second was. His best mark prior to Thursday was 20-1&

189; .

I've been chopping my steps and taking off way behind the board all season, Klenke said. This is my first year long-jumping and it takes time to get everything down.

Today, it all came together.

Eagle Point's Lee PR'd by a foot to upset North Medford's Crystal Worthington and Rachel Munyon and win the girls shot put.

Klamath Union's Stevie Dunton also hit a big PR ' 36-10&

189; ' to finish second and punch her ticket to state. Worthington settled for third (36-6&

188; ) and Munyon was fourth (35-8).

Lee offered a succinct answer when asked how she was able to come up with the winning throw: I'm sick of losing.

In other finals events Thursday, Klamath Union's Zach Tucker cleared 6-4 to win the boys high jump; the Pelicans' Kevin Pellegrino clocked 8:57.12 to hold off Ashland's David Richardson (8:57.93) and claim the boys 3,000 meters; Grants Pass' Patina Taylor won the girls javelin with a throw of 123-4; and North Medford's Danielle Jordan outkicked Klamath Union's Katie Leary to win the girls 3,000 in 10:21.92.

The North Medford girls suffered a potentially costly setback Thursday when star sprinter Brittany Hodges pulled a hamstring muscle during a qualifying heat of the 400.

Hodges won that race and later won her qualifying heat in the 200, but had a noticeable limp.

Hodges also runs on both of North Medford's relays that are seeded No. 1.

I would say she's questionable for Saturday, said Mark Hodges, the Black Tornado coach and Brittany Hodges' father. We're just going to keep our fingers crossed.

The Tornado girls lead the team race with 43 points, followed by South Medford with 28 and Klamath Union with 24.

In the boys team standings, Klamath Union took the first-day lead with 33 points, followed by Crater with 31 and North Medford with 29.

The meet picks up at 10 a.m. Saturday and will be held concurrently with the Skyline Conference meet.

The first running event ' the 4x100 relay ' is scheduled for — p.m. on the SOU track.

Thursday's Results

BOYS

TEAM SCORES '

Klamath Union 33, Crater 31, North Medford 29, Grants Pass 25, Ashland 22, South Medford 21, Eagle Point 20, Roseburg 14.

3,000-METERS '

1, Kevin Pellegrino, KU, 8:57.12; 2, David Richardson, Ash, 8:57.93; 3, David Morgan, Ash, 9:02.76; 4, Trevor Hanlin, GP, 9:12.57; 5, Gavin Weaver, Ros, 9:16.06; 6, Isaac Stoutenburg, Cra, 9:21.04; 7, Andy Wright, Ash 9:25.03; 8, Mark Haner, Ros, 9:33.95.

HIGH JUMP ' Zach Tucker, KU, 6-4; 2, Dan Lebel, Cra 5-10; 3, Bryan McClellan, EP, 5-8; 4, Geoff Donaldson, Cra, 5-8; 5, tie, Wes Lathen, GP, Ryan Pittman, Ash, and Isaiah smith, Ros, 5-8; 8, Nick Hayter, GP, 5-6.

POLE VAULT ' 1, Robbie Johnston, EP, 16-0 (district record; old mark 15-2 by Gary Vance, Roseburg, 1996); 2, Jon Fay, KU, 15-0; 3, Victor Daugherty, GP, 14-6; 4, Austin Shoptaw, Ros, 14-0; 5, Adam Reed, Cra, 13-0; 6, Matt Gilmore, Ash, 13-0; 7, Brian Stallsworth, Cra, 13-0; 8, Brian Jermain, EP, 13-0.

LONG JUMP ' 1, Tyler King, SM, 22-0&

189; ; 2, Jonathan Klenke, SM, 21-7&

189; ; 3, Kory Mahr, GP, 21-5; 4, Zach Tucker, KU, 21-3&

188; ; 5, Alex Grigas, NM, 19-10&

188; ; 6, Justin Weathers, Cra, 19-1&

188; ; 7, Josh Bakke, NM, 18-11&

189; ; 8, Isaiah Smith, Ros, 18-8&

190; .

DISCUS ' 1, David Faaeteete, NM, 167-6; 2, Dan O'Brien, NM, 161-2; 3, Brandon Farey, Cra, 156-6; 4, Steve Johnson, NM, 152-0; 5, Wes Lathen, GP, 140-8; 6, Jacob Olson, EP, 139-3; 7, Travis Phillips, SM, 126-8; 8, Todd Clement, SM, 125-10.

GIRLS

TEAM SCORES ' North Medford 43, South Medford 28, Klamath Union 24, Eagle Point 19, Grants Pass 15, Roseburg 11, Crater 9, Ashland 7.

SHOT PUT ' 1, Alyssa Lee, EP, 38-0; 2, Stevie Dunton, KU, 36-10&

189; ; 3, Crystal Worthington, NM, 36-6&

188; ; 4, Rachel Munyon, NM, 35-8; 5, Erin Glovinsky, GP, 34-9; 6, Dani Montgomery, Cra, 34-7&

190; ; 7, Megan Cavens, Ros, 33-10&

188; ; 8, Karen Kralik, SM, 33-6&

189; .

JAVELIN ' 1, Patina Taylor, GP, 123-4; 2, Katie Singler, SM, 119-2; 3, Stephanie Jensen, NM, 116-6; 4, Val Groshong, Ros, 116-1; 5, Salina Sychla, EP, 115-8; 6, Stephanie Anderberg, SM, 104-2; 7, Carrie Hoxmeier, Ash, 102-0; 8, Gabi Pimentel, EP, 100-4.

LONG JUMP ' 1, Kaylyn Knutson, SM, 16-11&

190; ; 2, Rosana Medina, NM, 16-11; 3, Amber Stevens, SM, 16-9&

188; ; 4, Jenna Siebenlist, NM, 16-9; 5, Kristina Bateman, EP, 16-6; 6, Brittany Lawson, NM, 16-0; 7, Erika Boehnke, Ash, 15-9; 8, Tawnie Taylor, KU, 15'05&

189; .

3,000 '

1, Danielle Jordan, NM, 10:21.92; 2, Katie Leary, KU, 10:26.01; 3, Kendel Nelson, Cra, 11:22.51; 4, Jessica Wood, KU, 11:29.05; 5, Katherine O'Neil, Ros, 11:41.41; 6, Therese McCaffrey, Ash, 11:32.20; 7, Lorene Young, KU, 11:46.33; 8, Brittany Hodgson, GP, 11:56.67.

Eagle Point?s Robbie Johnston sails over the bar at 15 feet with plenty of room to spare in Thursday?s district meet. Johnston later won the event. Mail Tribune / Roy Musitelli - Mail Tribune Roy Musitelli