Sehome's Black wins pole vault title

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 30, 2014 

TACOMA - Sehome pole vaulter Blaise Black didn't get his name called during event introductions. He and teammate Sam Humphreys were still finishing up their lunches.

Mount Tahoma High School's public announcer also had to make a second call, only for Black, to come to the award staging area post competition.

But while Black was competing against the state's best Class 2A competition, he was right on the mark nearly every time.

Black, who placed fifth at last year's state meet, matched his personal record by clearing 15 feet, 6 inches and won a state title in the process during the Class 2A-3A-4A State Track and Field Championships Friday, May 30, in Tacoma.

Even with the title, though, an always-striving-for-more Black wasn't content.

"I'm pissed," he said fresh off failing to clear 16-feet - his stated track-meet goal. "Sixteen-six was my goal, but 16 would have made me happy."

Black separated himself with the bar set at 14-6 and four competitors remaining. Black cleared the bar his first vault, but teammate Sam Humphreys dropped out, cutting the remaining field to three.

Black again only needed one attempt again to clear 15 feet. Neither Lindbergh's Omelyan Strembitskyy or Washougal's Adam Thomas could match him, giving Black the state championship.

"This year I get so nervous for the first bar, and at sub-districts I missed it on my first attempt," Black said. "Making it on my first attempt really helps me."

Even after Black won, he wasn't finished. The Sehome vaulter cleared 15-6 to hone in on the 2A meet record by 2 inches, but his 16-foot goal eluded him.

The final vault marked the end of both Black's and Humphreys' strong vaulting career, but both plan to compete at the college level. Black said he's headed to the University of Washington, and Humphreys said he'll compete at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

"Me and Sam have been (together) four years, and we compete against each other," Black said. "It's a really healthy rivalry we got going, and it makes us both do much better."

Reach Andrew Lang at andrew.lang@bellinghamherald.com or call 360-756-2862. Follow @bhamsports on Twitter for Whatcom County sports updates.

Reach ANDREW LANG at andrew.lang@bellinghamherald.com or call ext. 862.

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