EUGENE — Wilder Schaaf can meet a challenge.
The Ashland distance runner got an e-mail from former teammate Matt Miner urging him to try to break the Class 5A meet record in the boys 3,000 meters Miner established last year.
On a banner day for Southern Oregon distance runners, Schaaf did just that, outdueling Crater's Zach Elliott Friday in the 6A/5A/4A track and field state championships at Hayward Field.
It was arguably the best race on the first day of the two-day meet, and it came only moments after Phoenix's Elliott Jantzer did as expected and comfortably captured his third straight 4A boys title at the same distance.
Drew Jordan of North Medford battled to fourth place in the 6A boys race and, hours later, favored Kayleigh Tyerman of Crater didn't disappoint in the 5A girls 3,000, claiming that title, two spots ahead of Ashland's Seena Frantz.
There were other highlights, to be sure, as finals were held in five boys events and four for the girls.
David Formolo of North Medford, Brandon Hooper of South Medford and Taylor Stormberg of North finished fourth, fifth and tied for sixth, respectively, in the boys 6A pole vault, and sophomore Will Kunkle was fifth in the discus for the Black Tornado.
Piper Delaney of South Medford placed fifth in the 6A girls 3,000.
North Medford finished Day 1 in second place in the boys team standings with 16 points. Barlow leads with 23.
Local runners had the run of the joint, Schaaf in particular.
Miner set the previous standard his senior year in 8 minutes, 42.39 seconds, and this week he dared Schaaf to supplant it. Trouble was, Schaaf had eclipsed nine minutes only once, and that was by a fraction of a second
"If you look at my times, it didn't seem possible," said Schaaf. "But Matt knows how it is here, and he knew the competition would push me."
Indeed it did. Schaaf gutted out a clocking of 8:42.17 to edge Elliott's 8:42.89.
There were a remarkable five lead changes between the two over the final 11/2; laps. The field was bunched until then, but Schaaf took the lead on Lap 6 of the 71/2;-lap event.
It didn't last long, as Elliott snatched it from his Southern Sky Conference rival as if in a Christmas gift exchange.
"When he passed me, I was thinking he's mad from districts and he's not going to let that happen again," said Schaaf, who beat Elliott last week for the SSC title. "He made it a great race the last 800."
They both did.
On the final lap, Schaaf went in front on the backstretch, then Elliott moved ahead on the turn. Then it was Schaaf taking control in the final 50 meters and holding on.
"That's the hardest race I've ever run," said Schaaf. "I didn't think I had anything left with 100 to go. I basically closed my eyes and ran."
Elliott admitted he was grasping for solace afterward.
"I wanted to win so bad, but he ran an awesome race," he said. "It's frustrating, but second's not bad."
Jantzer hasn't seen many seconds. His win gives him seven state track and cross country titles, and he'll chase more today in the 1,500 — he's the two-time defending champion — the 400 and the 4x400 relay.
Jantzer plans to run six races in the two days, so he wasn't looking to scorch the 3,000 field, just best it. He won in 8:43.40.
"Actually, that's a good time for such a managed race," said Phoenix coach Hans Voskes.
Jantzer's personal best is about 10 seconds faster.
The Pirate senior sat on the shoulders of a couple different leaders until the fifth lap. It wasn't long before he was 25 meters in front.
The first lap was 67 seconds, or about four seconds slower than Jantzer prefers. The second lap was slower yet.
"It was definitely hard not to jump," said Jantzer, who will run on the same track for the University of Oregon next year. "My plan was to be conservative and coast through the first part of the race, then push it the last couple laps."
With a busy two days, he said, "I'd rather not kill myself in the 3,000."
Judging by his preliminary heats in the 400 and long relay, he didn't. Jantzer advanced to the finals with the fastest 400 time, 50.11, then chased down three foes on the final leg of the 4x400 relay to win that heat. His stretch was an impressive 49 flat.
Tyerman had a tough workload, too, following up her late 3,000 with the anchor leg on the 4x400 relay team, which qualified for the finals with her strong finish.
In the 3,000, Tyerman figured to get a challenge from Kellie Foley of Crook County. But the Comet senior stayed patient for the first four laps, then gradually pulled ahead and away for victory in 10:13.83.
Foley was no match for Tyerman's kick.
"One of the things I've worked really hard on is my speed in the 4x4 and up," said Tyerman, who will see Foley again today in the 1,500. "I just tried to stay with her for a mile or longer and then tried to kick it in and hope it worked. And it did."
Tyerman wanted a PR here but came up short. Her best is 10:05.12.
Foley clocked 10:26.58 and Frantz 10:30.54.
In the 6A race, Delaney turned in a season-best 10:23.61.
For a time, Formolo and Hooper were the only two vaulters competing. The top three had yet to enter and the rest of the field had fallen by the wayside.
Formolo went out after clearing 14-9, and Hooper managed 14-3. Jared Hippler of Oregon City won at 16-3.
Kunkle bettered his personal best by nearly four feet in the discus, throwing 161-5. Ryan Crouser, a sophomore from Barlow who earlier set a meet record in the shot put at 66-11/4, won the discus at 182-3.
State Track and Field Results
DISCUS — 1, Zach Stevens, Milwaukie, 145-6; 2, Curtic Middleton, Tigard, 137-5; 3, Devin Wells, Southridge, 133-11.
POLE VAULT — 1, Jared Hippler, Oregon City, 16-3; 2, J.J. Juilfs, Sheldon, 16-0; 3, Charlie Beard, South Wugene, 15-6; 4, David Formolo, North Medford, 14-9; 5, Brandon Hooper, South Medford, 14-3; 6, Taylor Stromberg, North Medford, 13-6.
SHOT PUT — 1, Zach Killgore, Canby, 52-0.25; 2, Mychal Desoto, North Medford, 48-3.75; 3, Justin Fabrick, South Eugene, 48-0.
TRIPLE JUMP — 1, Malcolm Johnson, Barlow, 44-6.25; 2, Terry Norris, Southridge, 44-3.75; 3, Zach Franklin, South Salem, 41-7.25.
JAVELIN — Brianna Bain, Aloha, 139-4; 2, Rachel Perry, Hood River Valley, 126-9; 3, Maddie Fey, Sunset, 125-2; 5, Kim Gomez, North Medford, 107-5.
HIGH JUMP — Kelly Millager, Tualatin, 5-5; 2, Rebecca Ramirez, David Douglas, 5-4; 3, Katelyn Price, St. Mary's Academy, 5-4.
LONG JUMP — 1, Kristin Clark, Sheldon, 17-7; 2, Shay Applegate, South Eugene, 17-2.5-; 3, Alex Howe, North Salem, 17-00.75.
DISCUS — Danny Parks, Churchill, 143-3; 2, Scotty O'Conner, Century, 138-6; 3, Anthony Juliano, Century, 133-5.
POLE VAULT — Kyle Lincicome, Bend, 14-0; 2, Owen Quon, Summit, 13-0; 3, Dylan Vandehey, Century, 13-0.
SHOT PUT — Sam Moore, Klamath Union, 48-1.50; 2, Zak Cooper, Wilsonville, 46-4.50; 3, Jake Flanigan, Lebanon, 45-5.75.
TRIPLE JUMP — Trevor Gibson, South Albany, 43-8.25; 2, Blake Kemp, Marshfield, 42-9.75; 3, Brian Barry, Pendleton, 41-11.25.
JAVELIN — 1, Gabrielle Loftus, Century, 116-11; 2, Kimberley Snow, Eagle Point, 115-2; 3, Katie Orr, Crater, 111-3.
HIGH JUMP — Frances Pavao, Sherwood, 5-3; 2, Kristin Oenning, Sherwood, 5-2; 3, Cater Lopez, Crook County, 5-2.
LONG JUMP — Katey Barger, Cleveland, 16-3.25; 2, Kelly Jenkins, Liberty, 16-1; 3, Cecilee Russell, Glencoe, 15-11.75.
DISCUS — 1, Oshay Dunmore, Newport, 151-3; Trae Collins, North Bend, 140-11; 3, Erik Calhoon, Scappoose, 131-9; 4, Paul Gutzman, North Valley, 129-8.
POLE VAULT — 1, Dakotah Keys, Sweet Home, 15-6; 2, Tim O'Brien, Gladstone, 14-0; 3, Oshay Dunmore, Newport, 13-9; 7, Jesse Hasting, North Valley, 13-3.
SHOT PUT — 1, Justin Gregory, Cascade, 47-9; 2, Tyler Miller, Sisters, 46-0; 3, Trevor Lundsten, Banks, 43-3.
TRIPLE JUMP — 1, Tad Anzaldua, Ontario, 41-9; 2, Wayne Holmes, Phoenix, 40-9.25; 3, Jackson Meyer, Seaside, 40-0.50.
JAVELIN — Dorian Perkey, Cottage Grove, 127-4; 2, Annie Whitfield, Sweet Home, 119-7; 3, Natalee Uhlich, Yamhill-Carlton Gaston, 116-6.
HIGH JUMP — Chancy Summers, Estacada, 5-4; 2, Erika Shigley, Douglas, 5-4; 3, Laura Schaudt, Philomath, 5-4; 7, Elizabeth Venzon, Hidden Valley, 4-10.
LONG JUMP — Jamie Osburn, Seaside, 16-11; 2, Ashley Taylor, Cascade, 16-6; 3, Rachel Erickson, Douglas, 16-3.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 776-4479, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org