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Grizzlies split SSC three-way

Ashland High senior Katherine Shulenberger says her family moved to Ashland from the San Francisco Bay Area last summer for "the lifestyle."

Apparently, the views here are a step up, too.

"It was really shocking," she said of competing for the AHS track and field team, "because I'm used to being bottom of the pack in California. You get down the home stretch and there's a girl way down there that you can kind of see."

Now, Shulenberger is the one being chased.

The middle distance runner and hurdler added two more victories to her already stellar first and final season as a Grizzly Tuesday, running away from the field in both the 400-meter dash and the 300 hurdles in a Southern Sky Conference three-way at Ashland High School.

The Ashland girls placed second to Crater, 67.5 to 59.5 in the team race, while the Ashland boys edged second-place Mazama, 63.5-57.5.

Shulenberger won the 400 in 59.40 seconds, holding off second-place finisher Mikayla Garrard (1:01.65) of Mazama, and took the 300 hurdles title in an eight-second rout — she finished in 49.07, well ahead of runner-up Shannon Paine of Crater (57.34).

The success is nothing new for Shulenberger. She has the third-fastest 400-meter time in the state at the 5A level, and the second-fastest time in the 300 hurdles.

"I'm just trying to take it race by race, stay strong and improve my form," she said of her season goals.

Shulenberger ran track last year, but at the time was still recovering from reconstructive surgery on her left ankle. Now, she says she's running pain free, and is back in shape thanks in part to former Grizzly girls basketball coach Tom McCracken.

"I was in great shape from basketball because (McCracken) kind of kicked our butts a little bit in practice," she said, "and so I've just been able to develop from that."

Shulenberger was Ashland's only double winner in individual events Tuesday, but a freshman boy just missed. Austin Chandler (11.64) nipped teammate Ben Mickey (11.66) in the 100 dash, then finished a close second (24.50) to Brent Smith (24.47) in the 200.

Also on the boys side for the Grizzlies: distance specialist Paul Schwarzer easily won the 1,500 (4:29.82); Alex Ralston took the triple jump title with a leap of 37-feet, 10 1/2;-inches; Logan Hartrick won the shot put (39-6); and Sam Jackson won the 800 (2:07.27). Mickey, Jackson, Ralston and Hartrick are all sophomores.

Schwarzer's sights are set on a berth to the state meet, which means a top-two finish at districts.

"I'm definitely having a much better season than last year," he said. "(coach Jeff Olsen) is pushing me hard."

On the girls side, the Grizzlies had four individual winners not named Shulenberger: Hannah Ewing won the 800 (2:32.96); Camelia Mayfield won the 1,500 (5:15.53); Megan Ganim, a freshman, won the 3,000 (12:37.89); and Joy Harpham won the high jump (4-10).