Pole vault titles highlight second day of 2A state track

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 30, 2014 

TACOMA - Squalicum's Kirsten Webber vaulted her way to a second 2A state title, and Sehome's Blaise Black followed with a gold medal of his own as the duo, with the help of respective teammates Madi Krussow and Sam Humphreys, regained Whatcom County's pole vault monopoly.

Two years ago the county swept both girls' and boys' titles before only one championship last spring made its way back north. Webber and Krussow ensured that wouldn't happen again with two dominating performances, and Black finally broke through his senior year during the Class 2A-3A-4A State Track and Field Championships on Friday, May 30, at Mount Tahoma High School.

Webber, in the morning session, cleared a height of 13 feet to set a new 2A state meet record, while Krussow broke the old 2A mark of 12-3 with a 12-6 and settled for second place. Black matched his personal record with a 15-6, and Humphreys settled for a fourth-place finish, clearing 14-0.

"I was hoping for 13-4 for a state record, but I was really happy with 13," said Webber, who won a state title in 2012 but took second last year. "My second jump, I don't know how I cleared it, honestly. I was freaking out at the top."

Krussow nearly matched Webber's 13-0 clearance, but couldn't quite get over, spelling the end of Webber's and her own season - one in which both posted top 10 national marks.

"Our goal was to both get over 13, so it was kind of hard getting 12-6," Krussow said. "We knew one of us was going to have to lose, and I would have been OK with losing at 13, but it was kind of sad at 12-6."

Being 2 inches off the 2A boys' meet record and failing to hit 16-0 also left Black a bit disappointed, but for the senior vaulter a state title was a long time in the making. He placed fourth at state two years ago and took fifth last season.

Black didn't elicit the same reaction a new state holder typically provides when asked how his championship performance went.

"I'm pissed," he said with a bit of a laugh and smile. "Sixteen-six was my goal, but 16 would have made me happy."

The pole vaulting area supplied Whatcom County's only state titles Friday, but Squalicum and Bellingham put impressive performance's in the short-distance hurdles finals courtesy of the Storm's Allie Kohr and Hunter Hanlon and Red Raiders Benjamin Doucette and Annie Waddell.

Hanlon promised after a shaky Thursday preliminary he'd make up for it during the finals by placing second and running under 15 seconds. Sure enough, the senior backed it up with a new PR of 14.87 and a second-place medal.

"I felt like I was really powerful at the start, and that put me in good position," Hanlon said. "It was a new PR and right where I wanted to be. I couldn't have asked for better conditions, sunny, tail wind."

Doucette also took advantage of the conditions with a speedy time of 14.95, improving on his old personal best by .23 seconds. The time earned him a third-place medal.

"I came in here just wanting to break 15 seconds," said the Bellingham sophomore. "That was my goal. I stayed light on the ground, and second or third is where I put myself, and I'm happy as heck."

While Doucette and Hanlon proved themselves during their first state meet, Kohr got the chance to compete for a title, and almost won, after missing last year's state meet due to a crushing district-meet disqualification. Kohr placed fifth in 2012 and captured third place Friday with a new 14.74 PR.

Kohr led the first 80 meters until her knee connected with the second to last hurdle, which threw her off rhythm and allowed two competitors to pass.

"That pretty much was my goal the whole year was to get under 15 seconds," Kohr said, "and that's what I did, so I'm happy. If I wouldn't have hit that second to last hurdle I think I could have won."

Waddell finished with a seventh-place medal, crossing the finish in15.49.

Lynden endured a somewhat tough day with 300 hurdler Sofia Milstead and 400 runner Trent Postma unable to qualify for finals in their respective events, but senior javelin thrower Shelby Jacob gave the Lions a huge highlight with her second-place finish.

Jacob was forced to sweat it out after barely making the cut into finals, but once there she followed a 130-foot throw with a new 134-01 personal record.

"My first throw was a 130, and I'm amazed, 'Oh, this is so cool, and I'm stoked,'" Jacob said. "My next throw, 134, and I'm like, 'Mind blown, this is so awesome.' This has been a great day, a great way to finish."

Jacob, who's attending and will be throwing at the prestigious West Point Academy next season, finished fifth at state last spring and had the 11th best throw in state two seasons ago.

Other county throwers claiming medals were Sehome's Drew Norvell and Squalicum's Joel Jensen in the boys' shot put and Sehome's Chanelle Eddy in the girls' shot.

Norvell posted a 51-05.75 mark, while Jensen was right behind with a 51-03.25. Eddy finished fifth with a 37-11.

"I felt really good moving up," said Norvell, who was seeded seventh in the competition. "It's nice to get third and good to show we have talent up north."

Seven Whatcom County jumpers competed on day two, but only Sehome's Bridget Henry performed well enough to earn a podium spot. Henry, who also stays busy by running in the Mariners' relays, was seeded 16th, but her clearing height of 5-0 in the high jump bumped her all the way up to eighth place.

"I worked hard this season, and I wanted to come to state, and placing is just a great feeling," Henry said. "My PR is 5-2, but I was OK with it. It's pretty windy, and I didn't think I was going to place."

Squalicum's Celia Larson finished 11th in the high jump, clearing 4-10, and the Storm's Kelsey Segren competed in the finals but didn't record a height.

Bellingham's Tristan Hurley placed 10th in the triple jump after earning a medal during Thursday's long jump final. His best jump was a 41-07, and he said it would have been a lot farther if he wouldn't have taken off 8 inches behind the board to jump from.

Humphreys was forced to divide his time between pole vault and triple jump with both events taking place at the same time. He finished 11th in the triple with a 41-03.25 best mark.

Sehome's Jessa Clark finished ninth in the girls' triple jump with a 34-11, and teammate Meleri Cummins placed 12th with a 32-11.75.

There weren't many surprises during track preliminaries. Most of the strong competitors advanced to finals, which should make for an exciting final day for both Sehome's and Bellingham's strong track athletes.

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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