I.V. track team punch above their weight in Medford

John Michaels
IVN Contributing Writer

The Illinois Valley High School track team came back from a long break and sent a contingent to the Medford Rotary Relays last Friday and Saturday. The Relays featured mostly 6A and 5A teams from Southern Oregon and the Cougars were not able to fare well in the team scores of either meet. The boy’s scored 6 points and the girl’s squad finished with 6.25. Coach Scott Thornhill’s squad was the smallest of the teams competing, but there were some notable performances from I.V.
The best performance from an Illinois Valley athlete at the Medford Rotary Relays came from the girls’ side where Jesame Pope won the 400 meter race with a time of 1:02.56. The time was a personal record for Pope in the event. Pope, also finished fourth in the 300 hurdles in 50.04. Pope currently has the third best 2A time in the state in that event.
Pope also ran a leg on the I.V.’s 4×200 relay team that finished seventh. Pope, Airabella Ferdon, Abigail Bohmker and Bree Reed completed the relay in 1:58.86. The only other Lady Cougar to have a top 10 finish was Orion Hardy, who placed 9th in the shot with a heave of 26’06.
On the boys’ side, junior Grit Charitram turned in a noteworthy performance at the Medford Rotary meet. Charitram engaged in all of the Cougars’ point totals. He finished third in the high jump after clearing 6’0 and ran a leg on I.V.’s 4×400 relay team that earned team points. Charitram finished 10th in the 100 meter dash with a personal record of 11.63 as well. He also competed in the pole vault.
The two high jumpers that beat out Charitram, North Medford’s Houston Klug and Grants Pass’ Jayden Jessee, have the two highest jumps in the State at the 6A level. Both are expected to compete for a state title in May. Charitram currently has the second best mark in the high jump at the 2A level.
The Cougars’ 4×400 relay team scored points by finishing in fifth place with a time of 3:46.21. That time was a personal record for this relay team, which includes Charitram, Manny Taylor, Tanner Brazil and Trenton Davis. 6A teams North Medford, Grant Pass and South Medford, and 4A Henley were the only teams to finish ahead of IV.
Although he did not score any team points, Heier turned in a performance worthy of recognition at the Relays. Heier set two personal records at the meet. His time of 9:45.93 in the 3000 in addition to being a “PR” is the fifth best mark in the 3000 at the 2A level. Heier also finished 10th in the 1500 with a personal best of 4:37.47.
Two other Cougars finished in the top 10 at the Rotary meet, just missing out on scoring points. Matt Ellis was seventh in the discus with a “PR” toss of 116’ 09. Brazil finished 10th in the javelin with his own personal record of 119’ 09.
Illinois Valley had a number of athletes at the Relays getting some “big meet” experience. Davis and Brazil also competed in the 100 with Charitram. Shya Teixeira and Skyler Szijjarto competed in the 400. Hannabal Bohmker, Eli Deutsch Felix Becker and Randy Huang ran the 800. Bohmker and Huang were in the 1500 race with Heier, while Bohmker, Deutsch and Szijjarto ran the 3000 with Heier as well. Those four represented themselves well in the special “Distance Medley Relay” event held at this meet.
Teixeira, Taylor, Szijjarto and Ethan Green made up a 4×100 team, while Ellis, Brody Riolo, Miles Hearn and Bryce Merritt combined in a 4×200 race. Kellum Hardy and Tristan Reyes finished behind Ellis in the discus, while all three also competed in the shot put. Green also threw the javelin and cleared a height in the pole vault. Brazil, Riolo and Thomas Allen all registered marks in the long jump.
Though not finishing in the top 10, other Lady Cougars participated in the Rotary meet as well. Kaya Whittlinger, Kava Rose and Bohmker ran the 100. Shan Watkins finished behind Pope in the 400. Naomi Merrill and Kylee Fisk ran the 800 and Fisk doubled that up with a finish in the 1500.
Merrill and Aleigha Hix competed with Hardy in the shot put, while Hardy, Rayna Hulsey and Caydence Pope registered marks in the Discus. Hulsey, Reed and Carmin Parker scored javelin throws. Rose also cleared a height in the high jump.
The Cougars will continue working with the District meet in mind. Illinois Valley will send athletes to two meets this week. I..V will send a team to the Bob Newland Frosh/Soph Classic at South Medford High School on Friday. They will also look to get state qualifying marks at the Timber Country Coca-Cola/Champion Car Wash Twilight Invitational at Roseburg High School on Saturday.