James, Faaeteete come through at state meet
Crater hurdler, North thrower nab seconds
EUGENE ' Jason James' dream of a state title didn't quite materialize at the Class 4A state track and field championships Saturday at Hayward Field.
But the Crater High senior was still able to stand on the upper steps of the awards podium after taking second in the 110-meter high hurdles and third in the 300-meter intermediate hurdles.
James scored 14&
188; of Crater's 17 points, good enough for a tie for 15th place in the boys team standings.
North Medford's David Faaeteete also turned in a respectable performance Saturday as he launched the shot put a lifetime best of 57 feet, 9 inches to grab second place. Coupled with his victory Friday in the discus, Faaeteete scored 18 of North Medford's 26 points as the Black Tornado boys tied for seventh place.
— Benson edged out pre-meet favorite Beaverton for the boys team title, 45-44, by winning the 4x400 relay.
As expected, the Benson girls cruised to their sixth straight title by racking up 84 points. North Medford, led by a third-place effort from Rachel Munyon in the discus and a third from its 4x400 relay, finished seventh with 28 points.
James didn't set any personal records Saturday, but he was solid in both hurdle races, covering the 110-meter event in 14.85 and the 300-meter event in 38.67. Clackamas' Tyler Clarke won the two races in 14.36 and 38.0, respectively.
I hit three or four hurdles in each race or I would have run faster, said James, who also ran a leg on Crater's 4x400 relay that finished eighth. But that wouldn't have put me ahead of that other guy (Clarke). He's got some serious speed and he ran two great races.
I'm a little disappointed. I came up here to win. But a second and a third is pretty good.
South Medford's Ryan Neuenschwander also fared well, placing third in the intermediates (39.22) and fifth in the high hurdles (15.28). Neuenschwander tried a new strategy in the longer hurdles race Saturday, taking 14 steps between the first three hurdles instead of the normal 15.
It worked for the first hurdle but then I got my steps off and I was a nervous wreck the rest of the way, Neuenschwander said. But I had to try something because I wasn't going to beat those guys (James and Clarke) with my speed.
Faaeteete got off to a slow start in the preliminary round of the shot put. He barely reached 50 feet on his first three throws and sneaked in as the last entrant in the finals. But once there, he surpassed the 56-foot barrier and then went 57-9 on his final throw.
I was over-rotating in the ring and that was causing me to throw off my back leg, Faaeteete said of his early struggles. But I straightened things out in the finals. On that last throw, I just went for it.
Faaeteete, who will attend Oregon on a football scholarship in the fall, said he's now toying with the idea of doing both sports in college.
I'm going to ask the football coach (Mike Bellotti) what he thinks, but track would help to keep me in shape and out of trouble, Faaeteete said.
Eagle Point junior Jake Olson wound up fourth in the shot put with a mark of 54-10.
South Medford senior Alan Phillips had a good day in the 4A boys javelin competition as he broke his own school record for the second time this season with a throw of 187-8, good enough for fourth place.
I had a real good warmup and that carried over into the competition, said Phillips, who shattered his old school record by more than four feet. I was here last year and that extra year helps calm you down. I threw relaxed all day.
Other state placers in the 4A boys meet from the Southern Oregon Conference were Klamath Union's Kevin Pellegrino, who was fourth in the 1,500 (3:56.36); Crater's Greg Dallaire, who was seventh in the 800 (2:02.69); and Roseburg's Gavin Weaver, who was eighth in the 1,500 (4:00.13).
The only state-meet record in the 4A boys meet was set by Central Catholic's Galen Rupp, who sped to a time of 3:49.76 to win the 1,500.
The North Medford girls, meanwhile, had hoped for a top-four finish and the trophy that goes with it, but they came up six points short.
Senior sprinter Brittany Hodges, who missed a month of the season with a pulled hamstring, was the key to the Tornado's trophy hopes but wasn't healthy enough to carry her customary burden.
Hodges couldn't find the extra gear to pull the team's 4x100 relay team through the qualifying round on Friday and she managed just sixth in the 400 Saturday. But if nothing else, the four-year standout, who won 12 district titles to tie the record in that department, finished on a bright note by running a 57.6 anchor split on the 4x400 relay that pulled North Medford into third place.
Freshman Justine Lawson also ran strong in the long relay with a 58.9 split.
I gave it everything I had, said Hodges, who was limping after the meet. I just wish it could have been more.
Munyon did her part for North Medford, reaching 130-1 in the discus for third place.
Gresham's Emily Strot set a meet record in the event with a mammoth toss of 152-4.
I'm a little disappointed because I was in second place for one round, and that was my goal, Munyon said. But I was close to my PR (132-9) and I had a good series.
North Medford's Danielle Jordan, who finished fourth in the 3,000 on Friday, came back with a sixth in the 1,500 (4:43.34) Saturday to help the Tornado's cause. Jenna Siebenlist added a seventh in the 100 hurdles (15.65).
Other SOC placers in the 4A girls meet Saturday were Grants Pass' Katelyn VanBrunt, who was third in the 800 (2:16.58); Klamath Union's Blake Stearns, who was third in the high jump (5-2); and Ashland's Erika Boehnke, who was sixth in the triple jump (35-6).
Reach reporter Don Hunt at 776-4469, or e-mail