Weekend yields state champions and special moments for 1A and 2A

Twins with coach

Proud coach with state champion and runner up

Clean performances by the Gale twins and Shelton McLean lead to one of the most memorable performances in Pole Vault City

Clean performances by the Gale twins and Shelton McLean lead to one of the most memorable performances in Pole Vault City history.  During the girls 1A competition on Friday, an unexpected result occured.  The much awaited contest between Emily Gale and Megan Walker ended with Gale twins atop the awards stand in the 1st and 2nd positions and Walker in 3rd.  It took a herculean effort on Amanda’s part as she made all her bars, including her personal best 11’6″ vault, on first attempts.  Her sister, Emily, narrowly missed setting the state record as she attempted 13′ after making all her bars on first attempt.  The dream had become a reality, a Gale sweep atop the podium.  Although the ending was unforgettable and dreamy, it was only 8 days earlier that Amanda was facing a lnightmare: elimination at her regional track meet.  Looking down the runway on her 3rd attempt at 10′, she paused, went over and got an encouraging hug from her twin sister and ran down the runway with the heart of a lion.  She made that 3rd attempt and she was still in 6th place.  She gathered up the rest of her courage and preceded to make 10’6″ and 11′ on her first attempts to complete her year long journey of making the state championships.  The previous year, she was denied access to the state meet after clearing 10’6″ at regionals and finishing 5th because of misses. Having put all that behind her, Amanda was not only able to compete with her sister, she was able to push her to a state championship as the Gale twins swept the pole vault.  They were joined on the awards stand with Pole Vault City teammate, Grayson Mack, from Highlands Christian Academy finishing 6th with a vault of 10”6″.

In the 1A boys division, Corey Smith from Holy Trinity narrowly missed a state championship on misses, yet helped his team to an overall team victory for a  state team title.  Corey vaulted 14′ and barely missed 14’6″.  His efforts landed him in 3rd place which was an enormous victory having broken his back a year ago and overcoming a groin injury at mid season.  Near him on the awards stand was Randy Hage on the 4th place podium position.  Hage, from Highlands Christian, made a huge turnaround from a year ago when he didn’t have a pole at or above his weight at the regional to donning a state medal with a personal best of 13′.

The 2A girls division was led by Texas transplant Annie Harwig from Tampa Catholic who vaulted a PR of 11’6″ and narrowly missed the state championship on misses as she finished runner up.  Right behind her was Kristen Petry of Cocoa Beach who finished 3rd with a vault of 11′, just off her PR.  On the 6th place podium was Samantha Olson from Merritt Island who received her first state medal with a vault of 9’6″.  Sam is only a sophomore.

The 2A boys division was an epic matchup between Shelton McLean from Merritt Island and Aaron Crowley from Titusville Astronaut.  These guys live about 20 minutes apart and have battled all season long.  McLean was the district champion and Crowley was the conference and regional champion. McLean came out strong and never looked back as he made every bar on his 1st attempt to seal his first state title with a vault of 14′.  Crowley was second at 13’6″.  Justin Deithorn from Suncoast finished 3rd with a personal best of 13’6″ and Johnny Batch, also of Merritt Island, finished 5th with a vault of 12’6″.  Batch, like Olson, is only a sophomore.

Author: Bobby Haeck

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