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Gorze rolls to victory in 3k at Class 5A meet

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There’s just something about being in Eugene that brings out the best in Tyrone Gorze.

And the Crater junior distance-running star showed it again Friday.

Gorze, who has a knack for rising to the occasion, once again showed why he’s the best distance runner Class 5A has to offer as he rolled to victory in the boys 3,000 meters on the first day of the track and field state championships at Hayward Field in Eugene.

“Obviously it’s good to come to Hayward and get a win at state, and that’s always the main objective,” said Gorze, who finished in 8 minutes, 17.26 seconds. “Of course I would have liked to PR or run a faster time, but I feel like the win is more important. The atmosphere at Hayward is pretty cool and the experience is unforgettable. Just getting to race on that track is a completely surreal experience, and even to win on a track like that, it’s very awesome.”

Coming in behind Gorze was the same runner who finished second to him at the 5A state cross-country meet at Lane Community College last November: Freshman teammate Josiah Tostenson, who earned his first-ever state track medal in record fashion.

“He’s only a freshman and you have to pinch yourself sometimes to realize that,” Crater coach Justin Loftus said. “He runs like a veteran. He’s been around running his whole life so he knows what to do. When you map it out with him, he does it.”

Gorze wasn’t the only Comet to win a title Friday, with junior Clara Bennett winning the high jump with a leap of 5 feet, 3 inches.

Thanks to their distance runners’ exploits, the Crater boys ended Day 1 second in the team standings with 21 points, just five points behind first-place Silverton.

Gorze had already run once at Hayward Field this season, with his time of 8:11.60 at the Oregon Relays breaking the state record for an 11th grader that was held by former Ashland standout and current University of Oregon distance runner EJ Holland. Holland set the mark during the 2019 state meet at Mt. Hood Community College as Hayward Field was being rebuilt.

As it played out, Gorze didn’t wind up breaking Holland’s meet record in the 3,000 on Friday after opening up his sizable lead from essentially the 200-meter mark on.

“Tyrone would have liked to go after a sub-8:10,” Loftus said, “but it’s hard to do

when you’re running by yourself.”

There was so much distance between Gorze and the rest of the pack — which included a pair of his teammates — that sometimes the Crater junior was the only runner in the picture on the NFHS Network’s camera shot.

“I could look up at the screen and see there was really no one behind me, but I never really turned my head to look around,” Gorze said. “I kind of just kept it focused but I kind of knew there wasn’t anyone really within striking distance.”

The venue nor the moment proved too big for Gorze, who will compete in the 1,500 and 4x400 relay today.

“Just the crowd, I’ve never really been used to racing with large crowds like this,” Gorze said. “It’s probably one of the best tracks in the world, it’s the best track I’ve personally ever raced on, so it’s super cool to see that.”

Tostenson, whose older brother Jantz finished second to Holland in the 3,000 at the 2019 state meet, was the only runner to go under a minute in his final 400 as he pulled away from the rest of the chasing pack behind Gorze to finish four seconds ahead of Milwaukie’s Logan Law.

Tostenson crushed his previous personal-record time by six seconds, finishing in 8:27.70, to set a state freshman record in the process.

It’s the second time this season that Tostenson has broken the state freshman record in the 3,000, first putting his name in the record book back at the Bob Newland Classic in mid-April.

Ashland’s Nathan Stein, who was third behind Gorze and Tostenson and districts, finished sixth at 8:36.56.

“I feel like he always has a good kick and can always find that extra gear late in the race,” Gorze said of Tostenson. “He’s been doing that ever since cross-country season. It was cool to see that.”

Bennett wasn’t able to clear the same PR mark of 5-4 that she did at last week’s Midwestern League meet, but cleared 5-3 on her first attempt.

Redmond’s Jayden Gustaveson, who finished second, had three cracks at matching Bennett’s top mark but was unable to get to 5-3.

“I think we were all nervous when it was ending there,” Crater head coach Kierra Huggins said. “When you do it and you see somebody be successful, I think it kinda gets into your mindset that you have to make that attempt. You can either control that nervousness or it can get the best of you for all competitors.

“Clara, she’s consistent, and to come in and win state, she’s ecstatic, we’re ecstatic for her. Clara just really focused on the things that she needed to do and found success.”

Once Bennett knew she had locked up first place, she took a shot at setting a new PR at 5-5, but just missed.

“I think she has it in her,” Huggins said. “If we had a couple more meets here I know she could do it..”

Ashland sophomore Flannery Lundgren earned a state medal with a fourth-place finish in the girls high jump at 5-0.

Ashland senior Grace Yaconelli finished second in the girls 3,000 with a time of 10:12.32.

Crater thrower Gabe Williams took home sixth place in the boys discus (132-2) with a nearly six-foot PR.

CLASS 5A

BOYS

TEAM SCORES (Top 10): Silverton 26, Crater 21, Wilsonville 15, Dallas 14, Crescent Valley 12, Churchill 10, Central 10, Pendleton 10, Milwaukie 6, North Salem 5, The Dalles 5, Lebanon 5.

Other Local Scores

14, Ashland, 3.

3,000 — 1, Tyrone Gorze, Crater, 8:17.26; 2, Josiah Tostenson, Crater, 8:27.70; 6, Nathan Stein, Ashland, 8:36.86; 11, Shaun Garnica, Crater, 8:59.74.

SHOT PUT — 1, Orie Schaffers, Silverton, 54-7.5; 13, Gabriel Williams, 39-10.25.

DISCUS — 1, Sam Willis, Silverton, 159-5; 6, Gabriel Williams, Crater, 132-2; 13, Dain Silva, Crater, 116-9.

LONG JUMP — 1, Nathan Fields, Churchill, 22-5.5; 9, Gabriel Grant, Crater, 20-4.5.

GIRLS

TEAM SCORES (Top 10): Thurston 19, Wilsonville 17, Crescent Valley 15, Ashland 13, Ridgeview 10, Crater 10, Redmond 8, Pendleton 8, The Dalles 8, Putnam 7, Silverton 7.

3,000 — 1, Emily Wisniewski, Crescent Valley, 10:03.76; 2, Grace Yaconelli, Ashland, 10:12.32; 11, Emma West, Crater, 11:07.03.

JAVELIN — 1, Zowie Bybesm, Ridgeview, 138-2.

HIGH JUMP — 1, Clara Bennet, Crater, 5-3; 4, Flannery Lundren, Ashland, 5-0.

LONG JUMP — 1, Breanna Raven, Thurston, 18-0.

Reach reporter Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or dpenza@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.

Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune Crater's Tyrone Gorze runs away from the pack on his way to winning the 3,000-meter run during Class 5A state track and field championships at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene Friday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCrater's Tyrone Gorze leads during the final lap on his way to winning the 3,000-meter run during Class 5A state track and field championships at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene Friday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail Tribune Crater's Clara Bennett attempts a jump of 5 feet, 5 inches in the girls high jump during Class 5A state track and field championships at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene Friday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneCrater's Clara Bennett reacts to clearing the bar and winning the girls high jump during Class 5A state track and field championships at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene Friday.