South and North Medford high schools will be well-represented when the Class 6A track and field state championships are held Friday and Saturday at Hayward Field in Eugene.
"It's gonna be fun," says South Medford coach Bill Rowan. "We have the best collection of athletes Medford has had at the state meet in a very long time. It's a very competitive group from North and South."
Among the headline entrants:
- South Medford's Josh Milhollin, who will be in four events.
- North Medford's Drew Jordan, who has the top 6A time in the 1,500 meters and the No. 2 mark in the 3,000.
- The 4x400 relay teams from both schools, which rank No. 1 (North Medford) and No. 2 (South Medford).
The meet begins at 10:30 a.m. Friday and 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
Milhollin ranks in the top three in 6A in three individual events and is on the long relay unit.
The senior is No. 2 in the high jump with a mark of 6-6, just one inch behind Kody Kozak of Oregon City. Milhollin went 6-6 last year at state to place third.
He's No. 3 in the javelin (182-8) and No. 3 in the triple jump (45-1).
All three of Milhollin's bests came at the Southwest Conference district meet last week.
"He's the first multi-event athlete we've had in my 19 years," says Rowan. "To be in four events, that's big. He should place well in all of them. He could easily win the high jump and be in the top three in all of them. Hopefully, our relay survives the trials and does well."
The senior Jordan, a two-time state champion in cross country who has signed to compete at Washington State, has clocked 3:59.27 in the 1,500 and 8:42.70 in the 3,000. He was seventh and fourth, respectively, in those events last year.
The two relay teams accomplished their season bests at district as well. In a scintillating race, North Medford won in 3:23.10. Its team members were Darren Cossette, Drew Jordan, David Formolo and Stetson Smith.
South Medford was right behind in 3:23.82, with Cody Artner, Milhollin, Nick Shanklin-Rice and Ryan Perry.
"The challenge at state is to equal that and make sure we get in the finals," says Rowan. "Getting into the finals at state is always very, very difficult."
In addition to the adrenaline of a big meet, he notes, fewer athletes qualify in other events, leaving many relay squads fresher than usual at state.
Several other local 6A boys are ranked in the top five in their events.
North Medford's Stetson Smith is third in the 800 in 1:56.07. He's been remarkably consistent, coming within about a second of that mark five times.
The Black Tornado's Will Kunkle is third in the discus (162-3), David Formolo is third in the pole vault (15-3) and Jonathan McUne is fourth in the 110 hurdles (14.86).
For South Medford, Brandon Hooper is second in the pole vault at 15-4.
None of the local girls are in the top five in their events.
North Medford's Baylee Hearns ranks in the top 10 in two events, leading a number of girls who will be competing. She's seventh in the 200 and tied for eighth in the 100.
Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479, or e-mail email@example.com