California State Track and Field Meet: Field Events Preview

Pole Vault

Girls Favorite: Kaitlyn Merritt Santa Margarita (SS) 13'7"
Leading Contenders: Rachel Baxter Canyon, Anaheim (SS) 13'3", Erika Malaspina Pacific Collegiate (CCS) 13'2" & Kate Thomas Santa Margarita (SS) 13'0"
State Meet Record: Tori Anthony Castilleja (CCS) 14'1" 2007

The clear favorite here is Kaitlyn Merritt of Santa Margarita. She finished in 2nd place at the CA state meet as a freshman and won as a sophomore. She no heighted as a junior last year at the SS Masters meet and will be very motivated to win here. Her main competition will come from fellow SS vaulters Rachel Baxter of Canyon, Anaheim and teammate Kate Thomas. CCS champion Erika Malaspina of Pacific Collegiate has also scaled over 13 feet and will be in the hunt for a state podium finish.

Boys Favorite:
Austin Laut (above courtesy of Cindi Dulgar) Oak Ridge (SJS) 16'3.25'
Leading Contenders: Barrett Weiss Flintridge Prep (SS) 15'9", Jett Gordon Marina (SS) 16'0", Zachary Nichols Branham (CCS) 15'7" and Michael Gonzalez Lodi (SJS) 16'0"
State Meet Record: Nico Weiler Los Gatos (CCS) 17'3"

The path to a CA state championship in the pole vault is by scaling the bar over 16 feet. If you look at the past results, every winner since 1991 has soured over that mark. Looking at all the entrants and their season best marks, we can start to narrow the field for potential winners. My slight favorite at this point is Austin Laut of Oak Ridge. He won the always competitive SJS Masters meet at 15'9" and cleared a personal best 16'3.25" at the SAC MOC. He no heighted at last year's SJS Masters meet and just as the girls' favorite, will be very motivated to do well at Buchanan. Keeping him honest will be SS Masters champion Barrett Weiss (along with twin brother Gareth) of Flintridge Prep, CCS champion Zachary Nichols of Branham and SJS rivals Michael Gonzalez of Lodi and Travis Kartz of Granite Bay.

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