102nd CIF-STATE TRACK AND FIELD CHAMPIONSHIPS
CLOVIS --- Pole vaulters know that if they really want to be the best, they can't waste time and energy missing attempts.
Both the boys and girls champions in the 102nd State Championship found themselves in good position in the case of a tie by clearing every one of their attempts on the first try until they reached their final height.
Eastvale Roosevelt (SS) senior Hunter O'Brien came into the meet as the favorite and he certainly didn't disappoint as he cleared 15-1, 15-5, 15-9, 16-2, and 16-5 on his first efforts. At 16-9 he was deadlocked with Buchanan (CS) junior Hilton Green and when neither one cleared that height, he was the easy winner as Green had three misses-including two at 15-9.
"No misses-that did it for me," said O'Brien, a senior headed to UCLA who seemed to soak in every aspect of the meet. "You want to win by height, but a lot of times it comes down to who has the most misses.
"This crowd was electric. It was really fun and with a crowd like that, you have pure adrenalin. I took some time to walk around the infield and even enjoyed the sunset."
O'Brien almost didn't make it to the finals clearing bars on his second and third attempts in prelims.
"I went home and reset," he said. "Prelims were a rough night."
But since neither scaled 14-1, Muhammad collected the gold because she, like O'Brien, didn't miss until her final height. Evans knocked the bar off three times en route to 14-1.
"When things get tough, I think of my favorite song, 'Slow It Down' by the Lumineers," said Muhammad. "It puts me in a good mood and I always vault better in a good mood. I jumped on a stiffer pole for my second height (12-5).
"I want to compete in the Junior Olympics, looking to maybe vault in the Olympic Games by the time I'm 18."
TOP SIX FINISHERS IN THE POLE VAULT
1. Hunter O'Brien, Eastvale Roosevelt (SS), 16-5
2. Hilton Green, Buchanan (CS), 16-5
3. Shane Bagley, Lemoore (CS), 16-1
4. Parker Terrill, Piedmont (NC), 16-1
5. Ian Strode, Turlock (SJ), 15-9
6. Gavin Hanes, Ramona (SS), 15-5
1. Jathiyah Muhammad, Dublin (NC), 13-9
2. Lexi Evans, Scripps Ranch (SD), 13-9
3. Alison Sahaida, Oak Ridge (SJ), 13-5
4. Allison Leigh, Del Norte (SD), 13-5
5. Evangeline Thomson, Poway (SD), 12-9
6 (tie). Jordan Leveque, Buchanan (CS), 12-5
6 (tie). Madisyn Negro, Murrieta Valley, 12-5
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Steve Brand is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to MileSplit
Photos by DeAnna Turner and Daniel Hernandez