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Tostenson bests Holland at MWL championships

CENTRAL POINT — It had been a couple years since Crater distance runner Jantz Tostenson defeated Ashland rival EJ Holland.

The Comet senior made up for lost time in the 3,000-meter finals on the first day of the Midwestern League track and field championships at Crater High Thursday.

Tostenson, who placed second to Holland at the state cross country meet in the fall and in the state 3,000 last year, pulled away over the final two laps and won in 8 minutes, 39.80 seconds.

Holland, the owner of the state’s top times for all classifications in the 3,000 — as well as the 800 and 1,500 — clocked 8:48.43.

The top two placers in each event qualify for next week’s state meet at Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham. In addition, five wild cards in each event will be determined from all Class 5A district meets.

The second and final day of the meet is Saturday.

The times of Tostenon and Holland were well off their personal bests, perhaps owing to a breezy day and a slow opening pace of 4:50.

“He’s just focused on doing his best every race,” Crater distance coach Justin Loftus said of Tostenson. “I know that’s a cllche. It wasn’t like we planned and talked about it going into the race. He’s been preparing ever since cross was over. He’s that kind of kid. He doesn’t take a day off.”

Ashland’s Reed Pryor (8:52.57), who was third, and Churchill’s Peter Lechman, who was fourth (9:00.24), were up front with the Tostenson and Holland until the final two laps, when it became a two-man race.

Then a one-man race.

“Jantz has always been a talented runner, and one of his best talents is his drive and dedication to be the best he can be, individually,” said Loftus.

Tostenson, who is headed to Georgetown on a track scholarship, was humble after the race, said Loftus, and excited about Saturday’s finals in his other events. He’ll run the 1,500 and on the 4x400 relay.

In other boys finals with local state qualifiers, Eagle Point’s Austin Strawn was second in the javelin and Crater’s Cody Fisher was runner-up in the shot put.

Strawn, the state champion last year as a freshman, had a best throw of 191 feet, 11 inches. North Bend’s Ty Hampton, the state leader, uncorked a personal-best throw of 221-4 to win.

Fisher’s runner-up effort was 49-3.5, just short of North Bend winner Kobe Johnson’s mark of 49-4.

The only local girl to qualify for state was Ashland’s Alexa Hague in the 3,000.

She won in 10:47.30, fending off Abigail Raven of Thurston by more than 8 seconds.

BOYS

TEAM SCORES: North Bend 34, Churchill 30, Ashland 26, Crater 25, Thurston 16, Springfield 9, Eagle Point 8, Willamette 5, North Eugene 3.

3,000 — 1, Jantz Tostenson, Cra, 8:35.67; SHOT PUT — 1, Kobe Johnson, NB, 49-4; ; JAVELIN — 1, Ty Hampton, NB, 221-4; LONG JUMP — 1, Simon Dexter, Chu, 21-8.5.

GIRLS

TEAM SCORES: North Bend 34, Churchill 33, Springfield 26, Willamette 25, Ashland 22, North Eugene 19, Thurston 19, Crater 15, Eagle Point 5.

3,000 — 1, Alexa Hague, Ash, 10:47.3; SHOT PUT — 1, Natalie Willoughby, Wil, 36-9.5; JAVELIN — 1, Hayden Markel, NB, 110-16; POLE VAULT — 1, Emmi Freeman, Chu, 11-4; LONG JUMP — 1, Chelsea Howard, NB, 18-4.

Andy Atkinson / Ashland TidingsCrater's Jantz Tostenson looks to make his move on Ashland's Evan Holland heading into the final lap winning the men's 3k at the MWL Championships in Central Point Thursday.
Andy Atkinson / Ashland TidingsAshland's Alexa Hague pushes the pace into the last lap winning the womens 3k at the MWL Championships in Central Point Thursday.