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Former Chieftain Gretz meets A-A goal

Former Rogue River High standout Seth Gretz earned NAIA All-American honors by finishing fourth in the decathlon at last week's track and field championships in Gulf Shores, Alabama.

Gretz, who scored 34 points for the Chieftains in the 2013 Class 3A state track meet, competes for the Oregon Institute of Technology in Klamath Falls.

"My goal going in was to finish in the top eight, which all win All-American," Gretz said. "I was ranked third going in, but honestly I just wanted to go and do my best."

Gretz, a sophomore, not only set a personal best with 6,661 points at the championships, he set career bests in the javelin (148 feet, 9 inches), shot put (21-7½) and high jump (6-3¼).

OIT coach Jack Kegg said Gretz's performance mirrored his entire season.

"He's been steadily improving in all the events," Kegg said. "He's just a sophomore in our program and has a lot of potential to push some of our school records before he's done."

While other athletes were training in shorts — T-shirt optional — Gretz was wearing multiple layers of sweatpants and outerwear to simulate the sticky Gulf Shores air.

The temperature on both days of the decathlon was in the mid-80s, with 80 percent humidity.

"He embraced the weather, and I think it helped him to some degree," Kegg said.

Gretz said his plan moving forward is to spend much of the summer and fall in the weight room to pack muscle onto his slender, 160-pound frame.

He's improved his decathlon score by nearly 500 points in the past year.

A similar jump would put Gretz on pace to break the school record of 7,097, set by Bryant Sentmen when he won the 2011 NAIA national title.

"Looking at it, I can see a lot more potential," Gretz said. "To be able to work on some things over the summer, including improving on my throws, I hope next year I can go over 7,000 points and break that record."