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Jentzsch soars to new heights

Rogue River senior sets state-meet record in the pole vault with mark of 12-0 in the Class 3A meet

EUGENE ' Shannon Jentzsch started in the wee hours and finished late.

In between, the Rogue River pole vaulter accomplished greater heights than ever before in the Class 3A girls event at the state track and field championships Saturday at Hayward Field.

Sometimes you wake up and you're vaulting way high, Jentzsch said, describing her fitful sleep the night before, when she turned in at 9:30, awoke at — a.m., then again at 6:30 a.m. People at the hotel were making fun of me because I was doing drills on the bed. But it worked, so hah!

Beyond her wildest dreams.

— Jentzsch, feeding off an attentive crowd that groaned or cheered vigorously with each make or miss, twice eclipsed the state-meet record, first at 11 feet, 10 inches, then at 12-0.

Jennifer Brown of La Pine set the standard of 11-9 last year.

Jentzsch, using a pole she calls Shorty, an obvious misnomer, made two game attempts at 12-3 before kicking the bar off with her feet on her third and final try.

Still, she wore a smile as wide as the bar when she exited the pit.

I've been after it for so long, Jentzsch said of 12-0. It's just nice to finally do it in a meet.

She's gone higher in practice but would not divulge the height.

Jentzsch was one of two Rogue Valley champions, the other being Jeremiah Lewman of North Valley. The state leader in the 300-meter hurdles lived up to that billing, cruising to the gold medal for the second year in a row.

Lewman ran 39.07, edging runner-up Nick Best of Estacada, who clocked 39.94.

Among other title contenders, Jon Riley of Illinois Valley placed second in the javelin and Kyle Gillette of Phoenix was sixth in the 1,500.

Wilsonville walked away with the 3A boys title with 65 points, followed by North Bend (56&

189; ) and Siuslaw (52). The 3A girls title went to The Dalles, which scored 51 points to edge Cascade (40) and North Bend (33.5).

Jentzsch won the pole vault when she soared 11-6 on her first attempt, then watched her chief competition, Chelsea Russell of La Pine, bow out at that height.

Russell had the state's best vault this year of 11-10, one inch better than Jentzsch's best.

The two didn't go head-to-head much at all.

Jentzsch, fourth here a year ago, needed three tries at 11-0. She appeared to be well over on her first two but clipped the bar on the way down.

It's an easy height, but I needed the suspense I guess, she said.

Russell got over 11-3, then Jentzsch went her three inches better.

I really wanted to compete with her more, said Jentzsch. It seemed like we were avoiding each other. She went 11-3, I went 11-6. We really didn't get to vault at the same height. I kind of wish I would have had that pressure. It would have been fun to push the bar up to 12-6.

With the win in hand, she conferred with coach Ron Logan and moved the bar to 11-10 to get the record. She then topped 12-0 on her third try.

Jentzsch, who is leaning toward attending Michigan and competing in track, hopes to improve her height in all-comers meets here this summer and possibly coax a scholarship offer.

Lewman was hoping to meet his goal of the mid-37-second range in the intermediate hurdles and entice some aide from the University of Oregon, where he will walk on next year.

But he didn't muster his best race.

It was a bad race, he said. I had two bad hurdles, the fifth and sixth. That wasn't very good at all, then I tightened up a little at the end.

Lewman has tendinitis in both knees, and he tweaked them in the 110 hurdles.

I had an awesome start, then hit about four hurdles in a row, he said of the shorter race, in which he placed seventh in 16.23.

Lewman didn't meet his goals, but he could smile.

That's all right, he said. I've got the state-meet record (38.30 last year), so I'm happy. Now I'm looking forward to college.

In the javelin, Riley came within two feet of his personal best, taking silver with a heave of 185-0.

Riley, who placed eighth last year and had the state's best throw (187-0) coming in, took a back seat to Brian Wuethrich of North Bend, who uncorked a throw of 194-6.

I was pretty excited for him, said Riley. I competed against him last year and knew he had it in him.

Riley couldn't mount a challenge, in part because of nagging ailments.

I felt good on my first three throws, then on my second throw in the finals, my left leg went stiff when I tried to do my crossover, he said. It wasn't stiff on my last throw, but my back and arm were hurting from it.

Riley did manage to help the Cougars' 4x100 relay team to third place with a time of 43.99. His partners were Jessie Lorentz, Mike Pagnotta and Caleb Renno. North Valley was fourth in 44.25 with Greg Richardson, Steve Gaskin, Mike Nomura and Lewman.

Entering the 1,500, Gillette had the fastest time this season and admitted there was a target on my back.

The senior was among the leaders at the outset, but when the pack collapsed to the inside, he drifted back and was unable to make a big move.

He started the final lap in ninth place and pushed up to sixth place at race's end, clocking 4:07.5, 8.5 seconds off his best.

Scott Sanders of Brookings-Harbor won in 4:00.80.

It was a perfect day for it, said Gillette, and I got a little excited. I felt good, it's just that my legs didn't want to move.

He ran the first lap at the clip he intended and did so again on Lap 2.

Then it was downhill from there, said Gillette. I just tried to kick it in as much as I could the last 200.

Other area boy placers were Phoenix's Adam Machado, sixth in the 400 in 51.94, and the Illinois Valley 4x400 relay of Pagnotta, Riley, Sam Green and Renno was fifth in 3:27.80.

On the girls side, North Valley's Carolena Porter (26.53) and Phoenix's Kristen Davis (26.92) were fifth and sixth, respectively, in the 200; Hidden Valley's Bailey Southern was fifth in the 400 in 59.21; Jessa Fairbanks of Illinois Valley was sixth in the 300 hurdles in 47.40; and Phoenix's Marci Klimek was eighth in the 800 in 2:29.40.

Henley's boys finished fourth and girls 12th to lead the local contingent. Illinois Valley and North Valley tied for ninth in the boys competition, with Phoenix tied for 27th and Hidden Valley tied for 32nd. In the girls competition, Rogue River tied for 22nd, with Phoenix tying for 29th, North Valley and Hidden Valley tying for 39th and Lakeview tying for 42nd.

Rogue?s River?s Shannon Jentzsch soars to victory in the pole vault at the Class 3A state meet in Eugene. Mail Tribune / Andrew Mariman - Mail Tribune Andrew Mariman