Paige Shirley, a junior from Episcopal School, didn’t seem bothered by the fact that after 11′ she was in third place, behind on misses, and facing a personal best to win the FHSAA 2A Pole Vault State Championship. Caitlin Schuessler, a junior from Pine Crest School, and Brianna Arellano, a freshman from Bishop Moore, both watched as Shirley made 11’6″. After Schuessler and Arellano both missed their first attempt, this meant that each would have to clear 12′ in order to overtake Shirley. Both girls cleared 11’6″, but were unsuccessful at 12′, leaving Shirley as the state champion in one of the most exciting state championship pole vault matchups in a while.
Shirley is coached by Ira Wellborn and Pat Crandall, both well known vault coaches in the Jacksonville area. It was great to see Ira get so excited after Paige cleared 11’6″ on her first attempt, pumping his fists in the air, knowing the significance of the make. Both Wellborn and Crandall coached pole vault sensation Daisy Glasser, who is now competing for the University of Florida.
Even more exciting than the competition itself, is the fact that all three girls will return next year to battleagain for the coveted crown. In fact, only Jessica Jetmore, from Bishop Moore, is a senior and will not be back next year. That is very exciting. Hopefully, we will get to see the girls at the Golden South Classicin May at First Academy.
- Paige Shirley, 11th Grade, Episcopal, 11’6″
- Caitlin Schuessler, 11th Grade, Pine Crest, 11’6″
- Brianna Arellano, 9th Grade, Bishop Moore, 11’6″
- Caleigh Boyington, 11th Grade, Citrus, 10’6″
- Alessandra Cassidy, 11th Grade, Archbishop McCarthy, 10’6″
- Jessica Cornelia, 10th Grade, Archbishop McCarthy, 10′
- Brittany Wagoner, 10th Grade, Key West, 10′
- Jessica Jetmore, 12th Grade, Bishop Moore, 9’6″