South’s Walker, North’s Rider sweep 6A sprints
With a drop on the final handoff in his first race Saturday, Andrew Walker’s day didn’t exactly start the way in which he drew it up.
Luckily for the South Medford junior, things got better — in a hurry.
A 2022 track season full of blistering times in the sprints reached its apex on Day 2 of the Class 6A state track and field championships at Hayward Field in Eugene. Walker, the Panthers’ star junior sprinter, captured the state title in the 100 with a time of 10.61 seconds, holding off Southwest Conference rival Landyn Dupper of Roseburg to post the fastest time in the state this season.
Two hours later, Walker again displayed his elite speed in winning the 200 ahead of crosstown foe Nathan Rider of North Medford in 21.33, a tenth of a second off the 6A state meet record mark set in 2018 by Micah Williams of Benson.
“I feel like in the both of the races it all came together for him,” said South Medford coach David Kirkpatrick of Walker, who started his day with an unfortunate drop on the exchange in the 4x100 relay. “Ultimately, that’s what you look for and to be a two-time state champion as a junior is incredible.”
Rider entered the 200 in the same spot as Walker with a state title already under his belt, as the senior sprinter posted a time of 48.96 to win the 400.
Rider trimmed four-tenths of a second off his previous PR, set Friday in the 400 prelims.
Rider, who attends Logos Charter School and will run at Sacramento State next season, finished with the second-best time in 6A in the 400 this season behind only Fuad Omer of Westview, who made a late charge but never overtook Rider and finished half a second behind in second place at 49.41.
“His success started earlier in the week when he started thinking of himself as a 400-meter runner with 10.6 100 meter speed versus a 100-meter runner who happens to run the 400,” said North Medford coach Piet Voskes. “That shift in mindset was an attitude adjustment as much as anything, and he started carrying himself like a 400 runner with the chance to do something special. That was the prelude to his encore performance coming out here winning a state title.”
As it turned out, it was a clean sweep of the 100, 200 and 400 by Medford sprinters — something Voskes said has never happened before in the area.
“No ... never,” said Voskes. “It’s a testament to the quality of Southern Oregon. It is unbelievably impressive, and to see those two young men do what they did, essentially to meet in the 200 in the middle after winning state championships and to run those kinds of times, it’s special.”
The last time a Medford sprinter won a state title was North’s Tyren Wolfe in the 100 at the 2015 state meet.
Before that, it had been 30 years since somebody south of Eugene had captured the top spot in the 100 in 6A.
“He’s the first-ever South Medford champion in the 100 and 200,” said South coach David Kirkpatrick of Walker. “I can’t say enough about his effort and his performance and everything that he did this season.”
The South Medford boys just missed out on a team trophy, finishing a point behind fourth-place Canby’s 34 points. Central Catholic won the boys title with 55 points. South had a chance to jump into second place in the team standings with a strong showing in the final event of the day, the boys 4x400 relay, but only placed 14th.
“To be top-five in state with how close it was and finishing just a point outside of fourth place and a trophy ... we really had a shot to be second place,” said Kirkpatrick. “From a team perspective, that will sting, but we have a tremendous amount of underclassmen. We’ll reload next year, and for a lot of sophomores and juniors we had competing here today this is going to keep them hungry and focused for next year.”
Walker’s personal-record time in the 100 was better than the mark of 10.66 set by Caleb Hagan of Sherwood the last time an official state meet was held in 2019. It was still two-tenths of a second behind the meet record of 10.42 set by Benson’s Micah Williams in 2018.
Also for the South boys, Michael Maiorano followed up his gutsy run in the boys 3,000 on Friday with a fourth-place finish in an absolutely stacked 1,500 field. Maiorano’s time of 3:51.64 was just behind Central Catholic’s Wesley Shipsey in third, as the South Medford senior made a push late to try and get the win.
Each one of the top 10 finishers in Saturday’s boys 1,500 posted better times than the winning mark from the 2019 state meet (3:57.02).
“To finish fourth in that 1,500, he left his blood, sweat, tears, guts ... he left his whole heart and soul on the track this weekend,” said Kirkpatrick of Maiorano, who will run at Gonzaga next season. “Those guys that edged Michael, those are all all-time in Oregon history running in 2022, so for Michael to be that competitive after that race yesterday, it was extraordinary. I haven’t seen an athlete pour themselves into two races like I’ve seen Michael with these last two.”
TEAM SCORES (Top 10): Central Catholic 55, Tigard 40, Tualatin 35, Canby 34, South Medford 33, Summit 30, Lincoln 30, Sherwood 28.5, Ida B. Wells 28, Westview 25.
Other Local Results
16, North Medford, 18; 18, Grants Pass, 16.
100 — 1, Andrew Walker, South Medford, 10.61.
200 — 1, Andrew Walker, South Medford, 21.33; 2, Nathan Rider, 21.50.
400 — 1, Nathan Rider, North Medford, 48.96.
800 —1 , Tommy O’Neil, Canby, 1:52.71.
1,500 — 1, Caleb Lakeman, Tualatin, 3:50.78; 4, Michael Maiorano, South Medford, 3:51.64.
110 HURDLES — 1, Micah Perry, Barlow, 14.34; 4, Jayden Jessee, Grants Pass, 15.22.
300 HURDLES — 1, Nolan Malcomson, Ida B. Wells, 37.48.
4x100 RELAY — 1, Central Catholic (Tim Mitchell, Edrees Jackson, Stryder Todd-Fields, Xavier Simpson), 42.21; South Medford (Asher Johnson, Benjamin Krebs, Deacon Edgar, Andrew Walker), DNF.
4X400 RELAY — 1, Central Catholic (Cameron Giles, Xavier Simpson, Wesley Shipsey, Stryder Todd-Fields), 3:21.44; 13, North Medford (Colson Rumrey, Trey Driskell, Trent Wayman, Nathan Rider), 3:30.31; 14, South Medford, (Jazz Hernandez, Benjamin Krebs, Titus Bloodsaw, Andrew Walker), 3:31.59.
HIGH JUMP — 1, Collin Moore, Summit, 6-6; Jayden Jessee, Grants Pass, NH.
TRIPLE JUMP — 1, Treyson Wakefield, Canby, 44-9.5; 5, Alex Guymon, Grants Pass, 42-8.5.
TEAM SCORES (Top 10): Lake Oswego 77, Oregon City 62, Jesuit 50, South Eugene 43, West Linn 42, Central Catholic 35, Tualatin 30.5, Mountainside 30, Lincoln 25, Tigard 23.
Other Local Results
25, Grants Pass, 5; 31, North Medford, 3.
100 — 1, Mia Brahe-Pedersen, Lake Oswego, 11.09.
200 — 1, Mia Brahe-Pedersen, Lake Oswego, 23.25.
400 — 1, Josie Donelson, Lake Oswego, 55.71.
800 — 1, Chloe Foerster, Jesuit, 2:09.60.
1,500 — 1, Chloe Foerster, Jesuit, 4:24.39.
100 HURDLES — 1, Harley Daniel, Oregon City, 14.06; 5, Sophie Mock, Grants Pass, 15.49.
300 HURDLES — 1, Harley Daniel, Oregon City, 42.25.
4x100 RELAY — 1, Lake Oswego (Quinn Greene, Josie Donelson, Dakota Webb-Hawkins, Mia Brahe-Pedersen), 46.87.
4X400 RELAY — 1, Lake Oswego (Quinn Greene, Riley Ha, Mia Brahe-Pedersen, Josie Donelson), 3:50.64.
SHOT PUT — 1, Jewyl Newton, St. Mary’s Academy, 43-11.75; 10, Anna Tobey, Grants Pass, 34-2; 11, Grace Osborne, Grants Pass, 33-11.25.
DISCUS — 1, Sydney Brewster, Sandy, 140-0; 11, Grace Osborne, Grants Pass, 106-3; 12, Addison Hull, Grants Pass, 99-1.
HIGH JUMP — 1, Deshanee Norman, 5-10.25; 10, Callie Brandes, Grants Pass, 5-0.; Katie Clevenger, South Medford, NH.
TRIPLE JUMP — 1, Anika Sukumar, West Linn, 39-11.5; 12, Audrey Yechout, North Medford, 32-10.5.
Reach reporter Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.