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MEDFORD EARLY BIRD INVITE - Lots of good signs for Raiders in Early Bird outdoor opener

Lots of good signs for Raiders in Early Bird outdoor opener
Avery Losiewicz prepares to separate from the pole and clears the bar early in the girls pole vault competition at Thursday’s Medford Early Bird Invitational. The freshman placed fifth, reaching a height of 8 feet, 6 inches. MATT FREY/THE STAR NEWS
Lots of good signs for Raiders in Early Bird outdoor opener
Avery Losiewicz prepares to separate from the pole and clears the bar early in the girls pole vault competition at Thursday’s Medford Early Bird Invitational. The freshman placed fifth, reaching a height of 8 feet, 6 inches. MATT FREY/THE STAR NEWS


Depth alone likely would’ve propelled the Medford Raiders to team championships in their first outdoor meet of 2024 Thursday, but there were several noteworthy and improved performances during the six-team Early Bird Invitational at Raider Field.

The Raiders overpowered small-school programs in both the boys and girls standings as the teams worked through some mid-meet rain and cooler temps at the tail end of the meet.

Evan Paul won three events as the Raiders piled up 213 points in the boys meet, easily outscoring Newman Catholic (138.5), Colby (93), Loyal (69), Athens (29.5) and Greenwood (10). Included in those wins was Paul’s first-ever try at the shot put, which he took with a throw of 38 feet, 10 inches.

Meredith Richter was part of three wins and Jaylin Machon won twice in girls competition, where the Raiders scored 192 points to cruise past Colby (117), Newman Catholic (110), Loyal (71), Athens (66.5) and Greenwood (23.5).

Boys highlights

Paul’s best throw in the shot put gave him that win by 6 inches over Colby’s Martinez and gave Medford’s coaches one more thing to think about as far as where to enter their talented junior in future meets. In his second shot put entry, senior Cory Lindahl placed fourth at 34-8.

Paul won one of his more customary events, the high jump, by clearing the bar at 5-8, 2 inches higher than Colby’s Caden Kleparski and 4 inches ahead of third-place teammate Hayden Koester. In his first 100-meter dash of the spring, Paul won in a time of 11.84 seconds while Raider Isaac Kautzer was second in 12.1 seconds.

In the 200-meter dash, Paul finished one-tenth of a second away from a fourth win, posting a runner-up time of 23.88, just behind Newman’s Nolyn Lindner. All of the Raiders’ entrants improved from their indoor times as Gage Losiewicz (24.07) was third, Isaac Kautzer (24.09) was fourth, Logan Gubser (24.13) was fifth, Paxton Rothmeier (24.73) was seventh, Caleb Scoles (25.15) was ninth and Koester (25.69) was 11th.

The Raiders won a total of eight boys events.

Owen Stockwell stretched out to a season-best 39 feet to win the triple jump by 7.5 inches over Loyal’s Bryce Deegan. Raider Axel Brushaber was fifth, improving to 33-4.75. Stockwell had a busy day, also taking third in the 800-meter run at 2:17.28, just behind teammate Adyn Gripentrog, who was second in a seasonbest 2:11.71 at that distance. Anthony Seidel dropped almost 13 seconds to a fifth-place time of 2:28.46, Brandon Curtis was seventh at 2:29.67 and Evan Pagel was eighth at 2:30.67.

Stockwell was fifth in the 1,600-meter run at 5:12.25 and long jumped for the first time this spring, taking seventh at 158.25. In that 1,600-meter race, Gripentrog came up just short in a tight race to the finish with Loyal’s Connor Genteman. Gripentrog finished in 4:54.49, 0.21 seconds behind Genteman, who also won the 800. Curtis was sixth at 5:25.73, Peyton Ried was eighth at 5:49.19 and Hunter Briggs was ninth at an improved time of 5:52.67.

Raiders won both hurdles races with Rothmeier taking the 110-meter highs in 18.17 seconds over Newman’s Quincy Pfender (18.78) and Everett Puent (20.83). Hudson Briggs won the 300-meter intermediates at 48.28 seconds, 0.46 seconds ahead of Pfender.

Seidel, Ried, Hunter Briggs and Pagel started the day on the track with a win in the 3,200-meter relay at 9:59.66, 8.96 seconds ahead of Colby. Losiewicz, Koester, Gripentrog and Logan Gubser ended the meet with a win in the 1,600-meter relay at 3:49.11, 4.19 seconds ahead of Newman. Loyal was third at 4:10.8.

Kautzer took second in 53.47 seconds in his first open 400-meter race of the spring, while Gubser was third in an improved 53.88 seconds, Scoles took a big drop to 55.95 seconds and took fourth, Koester (57.36) was seventh and Brushaber dropped to 1:04.68 and took 11th. Gubser was second in the long jump, going 18-8.25 to fall 10 inches behind winner Damion Puent of Newman.

Losiewicz cleared 11 feet to take second in the pole vault behind Ryan Peel of Athens (13-6). Raider Adam Kowalski set a personal-best by clearing 10 feet, good for fourth and freshman Jordan Lavin hit a new best of 9 feet to take fifth.

Langdon, William Bartnik, Christopher Dunn and Cade Wellman had the secondbest time in the 400-meter relay at 52.1 seconds, while Ryker Hallam, Losiewicz, Rothmeier and Lavin were fourth at 53.05 seconds. Loyal won in 50.97 seconds.

Bartnik placed fifth in Medford’s first discus opportunity of the spring with a throw of 88-6. Langdon was seventh at 84-6 and Lindahl was 11th at 73-6.

Girls highlights

Richter began her outdoor defense of last year’s 800-meter state championship by winning that race in 2:26.82 and Lindsay Kahn took third in 2:46.46 to give Medford a solid 16 points in that race, one of many events the Raiders scored well in Thursday. Earlier in the meet, Richter easily won the 1,600-meter run in 5:19.68, while Kahn was second in 6:03.85. Felicity Ziehlke added a fifth-place time of 6:21.58, Ella Dassow was sixth at 6:27.36 and Carly Koski was 10th at 6:59.23 as Medford got 22 points in that event.

Aliyah Pilgrim, Toryn Rau, Avery Losiewicz and Richter finished the track portion of the meet by winning the 1,600-meter relay in 4:26.54, a time that put them comfortably ahead of Newman (4:30.02).

Like the boys, Medford swept the top spots in the girls hurdles races. Machon took the 100-meter race in 17.8 seconds, well ahead of Newman’s Evie Bates (19.19) and Loyal’s Olivia Nikolai (19.29). Losiewicz won the 300-meter race in 51.97 seconds ahead of Bates (52.53), Machon (52.74) and Medford’s Adalyn Dittrich (56.93), making that a 21-point event for the Raiders.

The last athletes on the facility, Machon won the pole vault competition by clearing 10 feet, winning the tiebreaker with Athens’ Malaina Telschow. Losiewicz was fifth at 8-6 as Loyal’s Sheila Tellock had fewer misses to take fourth. Ava Ford of Athens hit 9 feet. Dittrich tied for 10th at 6 feet.

Pilgrim sprinted to a second-place finish in the 400-meter dash at 1:04.51 and to a third-place finish in the 200-meter dash at 28.76 seconds. Rau was fourth (1:09.28), Morgan Liske (1:09.47) and Addison Juedes was ninth (1:13.3) in the 400, while Alexis Zuleger was fourth (30.33), Rau was eighth (31.2) and Autumn Cooley was 10th (32.49) in the 200.

Brenley Beran was third in the 100-meter dash at 14.39 seconds and Lindsey Klapatauskas was eighth at 14.94 seconds.

In relays, Liske, Ziehlke, Dassow and Koski ran the 3,200-meter race in 11:14.57 to take second behind Colby (11:07.78) and ahead of Newman (13:07.86); Beran, Rachel Wesle, Ellie Eckert and Rivalee Stokes were second in the 400-meter relay at 58.16 seconds, trailing Loyal (54.86) and beating Colby (59.37) and Greenwood (1:01.7) and the 800-meter team of Zuleger, Bridget Wesle, Machon and Juedes was third in 2:01.67 behind Loyal (1:56.79) and Colby (1:56.89).

In the field, Stokes got off to a strong start in the discus, taking second at 98-1 behind Colby standout Daelyn Rieck (11010). Rachel Wesle was sixth at 79-2 and Bridget Wesle was ninth at 70-7. Rachel Wesle led the crew in shot put by taking fifth at 29-2, her best throw of the spring, Klapatauskas was seventh (27-1), Stokes was eighth (24-11) and Bridget Wesle was ninth at a season-best 24-8.5.

Klaptauskas was second in the triple jump at a season-best 30-0.25, a half-inch behind Colby’s Veronica Mateer, while Bridget Wesle was 10th at 23-11. Cooley cleared 4 feet to take second in the high jump and Rau was fifth in the long jump at an improved 12-8.5 while Beran was sixth (12-2) and Eckert was 10th (8-1).

Owen Stockwell gets to 39 feet as he wins the boys triple jump competition at last week’s Early Bird Invite at Raider Field. MATT FREY/THE STAR NEWS