Axemen have just enough.
SPRINGFIELD - Prior to the final event of the district meet, South Eugene coach Jeff Hess told his 4x400-meter relay team the facts as he knew them.
"Coach told us that whoever won between us and Sheldon would take the meet," South Eugene's Aric Wright said.
Hess figured the Axemen had a two-point lead over the Irish, but it was actually four points. That difference did not matter because Wright crossed the finish line first to lead the Axemen to the victory that clinched the Midwestern League boys track and field championship Friday evening at Silke Field.
"I thought we were up by two, so I wanted them to know that they had to get the job done," Hess said. "I knew they would respond. To get the stick to Aric with the lead was real nice."
Wright, who earlier in the day won the 200 and 400, had about a 10-meter lead over Sheldon's Jeff Randall heading into the anchor leg, and he led the Axemen to victory in 3 minutes, 28.59 seconds. Sheldon was second in 3:31.78.
"We had three good legs, and I got the baton in first place and I was not about to give it up," Wright said.
Wright was one of several seniors who helped the Axemen claim the crown with a two-day total of 159 points. Sheldon was second at 153.
Wright defended his district title in the 400 by cruising to victory in 49.82.
"I wanted a sub-50-second time for preliminaries at state, which is what I did," Wright said. "That was 10 points for the team, and I wanted to live up to expectations. It's nice to be a two-time champion."
Wright later returned to the track to win the 200 in 22.36.
"I tried that as a new event this year and I got off to a good start, and Coach decided to let me go with it," said Wright, who also finished fourth in the 100. "That is a fun race for me."
Eric Black-Maier earned his second title of the meet for South Eugene by winning the shot put with a mark of 51 feet, 8 inches. Black-Maier was the favorite when he won the discus on Wednesday but entered the shot put with the second-best qualifying mark behind Churchill's Robert Barrett, who finished second at 51-5 1/2 .
"It's easier to be the underdog; there's a lot of pressure on the favorite," Black-Maier said. "I've got a lot of respect for Robert, but I felt like today was my day."
Andrew Kahl won the 1,500 for the Axemen in 4:10.86, and teammate Ryan Harvey was second in 4:12.98.
"That was difficult, and I knew it wouldn't be easy going in," Kahl said. "There was a two-second difference between the first and second guy coming in, but I knew on any day it could be closer than that."
Kahl was sick during the week with a sore throat but took the lead on the third lap and held off Harvey.
"It did not bother me during the race, but when I woke up I felt awful," he said. "It was a mental issue, and I tried not to pay attention to that during the race."
South Eugene's Mshaka Mitchell won the triple jump with a mark of 45-10 1/4 .
"I was concentrating all day and I hoped for a big jump and I got it," Mitchell said. "I'm just trying to score as many points as possible to help the team."
Sheldon's Matt Fitzgerald won the 100, 110 hurdles and ran the anchor leg for the victorious 4x100 relay team in addition to finishing second in the 300 hurdles.
"I didn't expect to win the 100; I was fifth coming in," Fitzgerald said. "So I was really excited about that. I never saw anyone pass me, and then in the middle I felt a kick and had more energy."
Sheldon's Randall won the 800 in 1:58.20 after winning the 3,000 on Wednesday.
"That was a little slower than I hoped for," Randall said. "But I led the whole time, which is abnormal for me. I never felt like I got my legs moving."
Churchill's Paul Roshau was a big winner in the javelin with a toss of 194-8 that was more than 20 feet ahead of runner-up Ryan Bronson of Springfield. Roshau opened with a throw of 180-11 and also had a mark of 192-4.
"That was awesome, just unbelievable," Roshau said. "I had so much energy and felt so good. My first throw was 180 and that encouraged me."
Marshfield's Trent Ellingson won the 300 hurdles in 39.79.
South Eugene's Aric Wright takes the baton from Aiden McGuire with a big lead in the 4x400 relay, which South won to clinch the district title.
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|Title Annotation:||Sports; South Eugene wins the final event, the 4x400 relay, to wrap up the Midwestern League boys track title|
|Publication:||The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)|
|Date:||May 14, 2005|
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