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North’s Stevens vaults to victory

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Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneNorth Medford's Eli Stevens clears 13 feet, 6 inches en route to winning the boys pole vault at Crater High School Thursday. His final clearance was 14-0.

CENTRAL POINT — If onlookers at the Southern Oregon Conference district track and field meet did a double take when Eli Stevens soared to victory in the pole vault, it’s understandable.

The North Medford senior hasn’t been around very long.

“What a story,” said Black Tornado coach Piet Voskes of Stevens, who moved here in the fall, has had limited work with the track team and climbed into the top four in North Medford history by clearing 14 feet Thursday on the first day of the two-day meet at Crater High.

There were a handful of field-event finals and one on the track, the 3,000 meters, in the boys and girls meets for area 6A and 5A schools.

Grants Pass leads with 57 points in each of the boys and girls competitions. Crater (40) and North Medford (34) are next in the boys, and in the girls, North Medford (49) and Crater (37) trail.

The meet resumes Saturday at Crater, with field events starting at 10:30 a.m. and running events at 11:30.

A number of key performers will miss part or all of the championships for a couple of reasons.

Some teams and individuals opted to compete in a 6A showcase meet in Oregon City and a 5A invitational in Wilsonville. Among them are Ashland distance runners Cameron Stein and Reed Pyror and South Medford distance ace Michael Maiorano. They — Stein, Maiorano and Pryor — have the top three 3,000-meter times in the state.

Some athletes will compete in the northern meets and in the SOC meet.

While those absences were expected, others were not. About a dozen individuals representing several schools were scratched because of COVID-19 quarantining, said Voskes.

“I guess it’s the times we live in now,” he sighed.

Still, those that were on hand put up some fine marks.

Like Stevens.

He and his family — his sister, Alexandra, placed fifth in the long jump and is on the basketball team — moved here from Milwaukee in November.

Eli had pole vault experience in Wisconsin, but when he moved here, said Voskes, “He didn’t know a soul. He shows up on the track team and has just been a success story, winning the last meet of the year, and he climbed up in the top four in school history with that vault.”

There’s more to the story.

Stevens practices once a week in the afternoon with the team. Otherwise, he and coach Dave Formolo meet at 7 a.m. for practice, then Stevens works days at Grange Co-op.

“Not a lot of reps, just a lot of quality,” said Voskes. “He’s such a smart, intelligent kid, and he’s so coachable. He gets it, and he went out and performed today.”

Stevens had gone at least 12 feet in each of his other four meets, with a personal best of 13-0. He made that height on his first attempt, then moved up on his pole and cleared 13-6 on the third and final try.

He made 14-0 on his first attempt, and missed three times at 14-6.

“It’s just a huge feather in his cap,” said Voskes. “He really performed well under unique circumstances. He has no real insight on the vault locally, who’s talented and who’s not. He just went out there and did it.”

Stevens, who also competes in the long jump, won the vault when Grants Pass’ Jayden Brown went out at 13-9. Both had cleared 13-6, but Stevens had fewer misses.

North Medford also had a victory on the girls side, with Estella Gutches recording a PR in winning the 3,000. She ran 10 minutes, 34.34 seconds, bettering her time in the Grants Pass Rotary meet last weekend by more than 5 seconds.

The sophomore Gutches has gained strength and confidence through the cross-country and track seasons this year. “She was able to just kind of break the tether right around Lap 4,” Voskes said of the 7½-lap race, “and run her kind of race and just continue to push the pace and establish herself.”

She set the tone for other strong Black Tornado efforts, he added, including Reese Meager, fourth in the 3,000 in 11:19.14.

Audrey Yechout was second in the long jump with a PR of 15-7½, just ahead of fourth-place teammate McKenna R. Donovan.

Hannah McFarland was fourth in the javelin at 87-2 and fifth in the shot put at 30-2.

“We had a good day, a lot of nickel-and-dime points,” said Voskes. “A lot of kids we didn’t anticipate scoring stepped up, but the standard was set by Stella.”

The Crater girls got a victory from Teya Amidei in the javelin. Her throw of 99-9 bested Roseburg runner-up Kaela Klopfenstein, who threw 93-4.

It was the senior Amidei’s second-best mark of the season.

The Comets’ Erin Bechtold added a second in the pole vault, sailing 9-0, while teammates Jaidyn Campbell and Abigail Wester were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Allison Waters was third in the long jump at 15-6.

In the boys meet, Crater sophomore Tyrone Gorze captured the 3,000 in 8:30.10, a personal best by more than 5 seconds.

Eagle Point got a victory from senior javelin thrower Austin Strawn, who heaved it 178-5, and North Medford’s Colby Neron was second at 164-11. Eagle Point’s Wyatt Angel was third at 160-9.

North Medford got a couple thirds from Grant Lulich in the 3,000, with a time of 9:28.44, and Terrell Kim in the shot put, 42-11½.

Gabriel Grant of Crater placed second in the long jump at 20-7½, and teammate Camden Thurman was fourth at 19-10.

The Comets’ Carson Le Bel placed third in the pole vault at 13-0, and teammate Gabriel Williams was fourth in the shot put at 42-2½.

BOYS

TEAM SCORES: Grants Pass 57, Crater 40, North Medford 34, Roseburg 29, Eagle Point 20, South Medford 13, Ashland 2.

3,000 — 1, Tyrone Gorze, C, 8:30.10; 2, Connor Singer, SM, 9:03.17; 3, Grant Lulich, NM, 9:28.44.

SHOT PUT — 1, Parker Jarvis, GP, 47-2.25; 2, Riley Bonney, GP, 46-10.5; 3, Terrell Kim, NM, 42-11.5.

JAVELIN — 1, Austin Strawn, EP, 178-5; 2, Colby Neron, NM, 164-11; 3, Wyatt Angel, EP, 160-9.

POLE VAULT — 1, Eli Stevens, NM, 14-0; 2, Jayden Brown, GP, 13-6; 3, Carson Le Bel, C, 13-0.

LONG JUMP — 1, Spencer Sloan, GP, 21-2; 2, Gabriel Grant, C, 20-7.5; 3, Landyn Dupper, R, 19-10.5.

GIRLS

TEAM SCORES: Grants Pass 57, North Medford 49, Crater 37, Roseburg 32, South Medford 13, Eagle Point 5, Ashland 2.

3,000 — 1, Estella Gutches, NM, 10:34.34; 2, Madison Wilt, GP, 10:51.59; 3, Elizabeth Eckman, R, 11:04.84.

SHOT PUT — 1, Grace Oborne, GP, 35-1; 2, Anna Tobey, GP, 34-11.5; 3, Jaden Warmouth, R, 30-5.5.

JAVELIN — 1, Teya Amidei, C, 99-9; 2, Kaela Klopfenstein, R, 93-4; 3, Macy McCoy, SM, 87-10.

POLE VAULT — 1, Saige Baumann, GP, 10-9; T2, Erin Bechtold, C, 9-0; T2, Zoe Traul, R, 9-0.

LONG JUMP — 1, Sophie Mock, GP, 16-0.25; 2, Audrey Yechout, NM, 15-7.53, Allison Waters, C, 15-6.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneNorth Medford's Estella Gutches leads early in the race winning the girls 3k Thursday in Central Point.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneNorth Medford's Estella Gutches crosses the finish line winning the girls 3k Thursday in Central Point.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCrater's Tyrone Gorze leads half way winning the 3k in Central Point Thursday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCrater's Tyrone Gorze pushes to the finish line winning the 3k in Central Point Thursday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCrater's Teya Amidei makes a throw during the finals winning the girls Javelin throw in Central Point Thursday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCrater's Teya Amidei makes a throw during the finals winning the girls Javelin throw in Central Point Thursday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneEagle Points Austin Strawn makes a throw in the finals winning the boys javelin in Central Point Thursday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneNorth Medford's Eli Stevens clears 13'6" winning the boys pole vault at Crater High School Thursday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneNorth Medford's Eli Stevens clears 14 feet winning the boys pole vault at Crater High School Thursday.
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune
Day 1 of the Southern Oregon Conference Track & Field Championships at Crater High School Thursday.Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune