Jordan Ringe knew what to expect, who it would probably be and when it was likely to happen. But that foresight didn't help him any more than it did Zach Elliott less than 24 hours prior.
EUGENE — Jordan Ringe knew what to expect, who it would probably be and when it was likely to happen. But that foresight didn't help him any more than it did Zach Elliott less than 24 hours prior.
In the end, both were Schaafted.
Ashland's Wilder Schaaf inched past Ringe down the home stretch to win the 1,500-meter state championship Saturday at Hayward Field, becoming the second straight Ashland boy to sweep the long distance runs in the 5A state meet after Matt Miner won both the 3,000 and 1,500 in 2008.
"I never thought I could get two state championships," Schaaf said. "I had a terrible cross country season. Coming back from that I'm surprised. It's overwhelming."
Relying on another late surge, Schaaf passed Ringe of Hermiston with about 50 meters to go then held on to seize his second state title in 4:02.64. Ringe finished in 4:03.17.
The race was a virtual replay of the 3,000 finals, which also included a late pass by Schaaf that denied Elliott.
This time, it looked like Schaaf, a junior, had met his match, especially after Ringe, a senior, opened up a five-meter lead with 300 meters to go. He still led coming out of the final turn. That's when Schaaf threw in one final kick — one too many for Ringe to handle.
"I thought I was going to be able to finish it," Ringe said. "In my head, I was just like, 'OK, let's do this. Come on, we just gotta bust it for 100 more meters.' It was just clicking in my head, and then when I saw his red jersey just coming faster than me right by on my right side, I was like, 'Oh man.' I almost had it."
Ringe first broke away from the pack with 500 meters to go, a move he said surprised himself. The early move caught Schaaf off guard, too, and forced him to make a decision.
"I knew Jordan was fast but I didn't expect him to take the lead, and so that was surprising," Schaaf said.
"I was kind of behind (Elliott) there and I was wondering what to do so I just finally had to go for (Ringe).
"It was harder than I thought it was going to be but it was doable. It was about the same as the 3k. I didn't get (Miner's record) time, but I knew I couldn't get that time anyway. I was just trying to win."
Miner's record of 3:55.17 stood up, but Schaaf did manage to break Miner's 3,000 record on Friday.
Schaaf's only teammate in action Saturday, Seena Frantz, wasn't nearly as pleased with her finish. Frantz got the start she wanted, but waited too long to start her kick and wound up fourth in 4:50.22. Kayleigh Tyerman of Crater won easily in a record 4:32.02.
Frantz, who took third in the 3,000, battled Alyssa O'Connor of Summit for third place before succumbing down the stretch.
"I'm kind of disappointed because I think I wasn't as prepared as I felt," Frantz said. "I think I was more in that 3,000 mind-set and I was thinking I'd have more time."
Schaaf and Frantz powered the Grizzlies to respectable places in the final team standings. Schaaf's 20 points catapulted the AHS boys to 14th place out of 35 teams, and Frantz, who scored 11 team points for Ashland, gave the Grizz girls a 19th-place finish out of 33 teams.
Marshfield won the boys team title with 56 points and Summit dominated the field in the girls team race with 81 points.
Sports editor Joe Zavala can be reached at 482-3456 x 224 or firstname.lastname@example.org