POLE VAULT Garrett Brown Clears 17 Feet, Extends U.S. No. 1

Garrett Brown of La Costa Canyon, cleared a national-leading 17-0.75 at a meet Friday night in Arizona. (File photo: Karen Ocskasy)

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If you really feel like you're ready for an outstanding performance but the state, because of coronavirus restrictions, prevents you from competing in anything but dual meets, what do you do?

La Costa Canyon senior Garrett Brown packed his bags and entered the pole vault Friday night at the Chandler Rotary Invitational in Chandler, Arizona.

Competing in an open division that went far into the night, Brown soared over the bar at a San Diego Section-record 17-feet, 0.75-inches, expanding his own national and state-leading mark of 16-8.75 in February.

The 17-0.75 bettered the 16-10.75 section record he scaled last August in Menifee. The mark also ranks Brown as the 18th best performer in state history.

Although the event was scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m., it was well after that and the stadium was virtually empty after all the other events had finished.

"As it turned out, running late allowed us to jump when it was cooler and when the wind had died down," said Brow via phone of the competition. "I changed poles after missing my first attempt (at 17-0.75) but kept everything else the same and was pretty confident.

"My first try at 17-0.75 felt really good but I hit the bar going up. Everything else felt perfect, so I changed to a stiffer pole which I had to hold higher. I definitely could tell I was going to clear 17 even before I was over the bar."

Because he could feel his hamstring tightening up, as a safety measure he opted to stop jumping at that point.

Brown, who is headed to Stanford in the fall, was perfect, clearing 14-0, 14-6, 15-6, 16-0, 16-5, and 16-8.75 on his first attempts.

"I knew I could jump 17 because I'd had a great week of practice," Brown said. "I don't know, I just felt that all I had to do was change poles and I'd get it. After 16-5, we went to meters, so there wasn't a chance to try 17 or anything.

"I didn't make any adjustments for the wind or move the standards after my first miss. My adrenalin was going because there were people in the stands for the first time in a long time."

Brown said he had a couple of inches of air between him and the bar, so the next step will be to go for 17-4.

"Being the national leader isn't my goal," said Brown. "I just want to jump as high as I can."

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Steve Brand is a regular contributor to MileSplitCA and serves as the San Diego Section editor.