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South’s Maiorano tests his limits in state 3,000

Panthers senior places second in bold effort to highlight Day 1 of 6A state meet

Audacious was the buzzword that kept coming to mind as South Medford senior Michael Maiorano prepared for his 3,000-meter run to open the Class 6A track and field state championships.

If there was to be any descriptor surrounding his performance Friday at Hayward Field in Eugene, it was that sentiment he hoped would be the chosen term.

Then he went out and lived up to that bold, risk-taking persona.

Maiorano pushed the threshold at every turn, starting out in a rabbit’s pace and nearly leading wire-to-wire before ultimately being caught in the final strides by Tualatin senior Caleb Lakeman in a dramatic finish that left Maiorano breathless and bloodied on the track surface.

Lakeman secured the 6A title in 8 minutes, 13.31 seconds — not far off the 6A meet record of 8:10.66 set 22 years ago — and Maiorano placed second in a personal-best 8:13.58. Franklin’s Charlie North was third in 8:14.24.

“I just left literally everything out there,” Maiorano said in recapping the race hours later. “It was intense. I am not mad at all about how I raced or my effort.

“I didn’t realize until an hour or two ago how close I was and that made me kind of just hit my fist, like dang it. There’s no feeling of anger, I’m just a little bit annoyed it didn’t work out exactly how I wanted, but I’ve never left it all out there like that before.”

In other top-10 showings on Day 1 of the 6A meet, North Medford freshman Paije Carpenter placed sixth in the girls javelin at 114 feet, 2 inches and Black Tornado sophomore Terrell Kim placed ninth in the boys shot put at 47-0 1/4.

For Maiorano, Friday’s all-out effort was kind of an homage to Oregon legend Steve Prefontaine, whom he became tied to in early April when his 2-mile time of 8:46.92 at the Arcadia Invitational proved to be the second-fastest time at that distance in state history. Prefontaine set the top mark of 8:41.5 in 1969.

Advancing that bond is the fact that Maiorano has signed to compete collegiately at Gonzaga, where cross-country coach Pat Tyson has served for nearly two decades and was Pre’s teammate at Oregon.

“I’ve been listening to a lot of Prefontaine stuff and all the comparisons,” Maiorano said, “and the main thing that stood out is his coach in the 70s here at Oregon (Bill Bowerman) really just wanted him to win races and he was like, I don’t want to win races that way, I want to win knowing I gave it everything I had. The point of running isn’t to win races, it’s to test the limits of the human heart. I think his famous quote is that anything else is just chicken-sh*t.”

Running with a host of familiar faces and friends, Maiorano made his strategy well known prior to the early-morning race.

“I told all the guys that were competitors in the race that I’m going to go through 800 (meters) in 2:08 and I’m going to go through a mile in 4:20 or 4:21, and those are the exact splits I hit,” he said. “No one was with me. At the mile, I was leading by five seconds and I think with a lap to go I was leading by six seconds.”

At one point, Maiorano likened it to running by himself down South Stage Road or in Jacksonville, with only him and his thoughts.

The only issue? He needed the race to be a few meters less than it was.

“With 50 meters to go, the wheel’s came off,” he said. “It’s a miracle I made it to the finish line. It looks like I dived at the end but I don’t think I dived, my legs just gave up.”

“It’s one of those things where I wouldn’t have changed anything,” added Maiorano of the 3,000. “If I could do it all over again, I just wish that 0.2-second swing was a little bit different.”

Maiorano suffered a decent-sized gash on his left knee after collapsing through the finish line and said he was “in and out of consciousness” in the aftermath but would not be deterred in later taking to the medal podium. He’s slated to compete in the 1,500 today for the Panthers.

“I’ve been reading a lot about these races that get remembered in history,” he said, “and I think this is one that gets remembered, and I’m happy about that. Even though I didn’t win, I’m happy I made this race what it was. These were my best friends I was running against and there was a lot of energy we were feeding off. It was a good time out there, for sure.”

Carpenter served notice in her first state meet with a PR throw of 114-2 coming on her first attempt in the girls javelin. The freshman, however, was unable to reach triple-digits again and had to settle for sixth behind the winning throw of 146-6 by Central Catholic’s Kyeese Hollands.

Kim steadily built from around 43 feet before just eclipsing 47 feet on his third attempt in the boys shot put, and went on to also place 14th in the discus at 125-8.

Black Tornado teammate David Fuiava, a junior, finished 12th in the boys discus at 131-1 on his first attempt.

South Medford’s Hayden Powell was 11th in the boys pole vault (12-0) and Amara Collins was 16th in the girls javelin (84-9).

CLASS 6A

BOYS

TEAM SCORES (Top 10): Tigard 25, Summit 14, Sandy 14, Mountain View 12, Westview 12, Tualatin 10, Sherwood 10, Glenoe 10, Mountainside 9, South Medford 8, Grants Pass 8, Bend 8.

3,000 — 1, Caleb Lakeman, Tualatin, 8:13.31; 2, Michael Maiorano, South Medford, 8:13.58.

SHOT PUT — 1, Elijah Jackman, Tigard, 59-3.50; 2, Parker Jarvis, Grants Pass, 55-3.25; 9, Terrell Kim, North Medford, 47-0.25.

DISCUS — 1, Elijah Jackman, Tigard, 175-7; 11, Owen Townes, Grants Pass, 135-5; 12, David Fuiava, North Medford, 131-1; 14, Terrell Kim, North Medford, 125-8.

POLE VAULT — 1, Gavin Fleck, Summit, 15-0; 11, Hayden Powell, South Medford, 12-0.

LONG JUMP — 1, Austin Stampflee, Glencoe, 22-5.75.

GIRLS

TEAM SCORES (Top 10): Central Catholic 19, Oregon City 16, Lake Oswego 13, Ida B. Wells 12, Lincoln 12, West Linn 11, Summit 9, Tigard 8, Clackamas 8, Franklin 8.

Other Local Results

17, North Medford, 3.

3,000 — 1, Kate Peters, Lake Oswego, 9:25.15.

JAVELIN — 1, Kyeese Hollands, Central Catholic, 146-6; 6, Paije Carpenter, North Medford, 114-2; 16, Amara Collins, South Medford, 84-9.

POLE VAULT — 1, Nicole Prall, Lincoln, 12-6.

LONG JUMP — 1, Sophia Beckmon, Oregon City, 20-1.50; 11, Sophie Mock, Grants Pass, 16-2.50.

Have a story idea? Reach sports editor Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@rosebudmedia.com or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneSouth Medford's Michael Maiorano (left) pushes to the finish line for second place in the 3,000-meter run during the Class 6A track and field state championships at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon in Eugene Friday.