CIF-STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS - Boys and Girls Pole Vault Preview

Next in a series of event group previews in advance of the CIF-State Track and Field Championships. The CIF State Meet pole vault features 23 boys and 26 girls qualifiers. The top 12 on each side in Friday's prelims advance to Saturday's finals. 


Pole Vault

CIF State Meet Record - 17-10, Sondre Guttormsen (Davis/SJ) 2016.
Current State Leader - 17-1, Hilton Green, Sr. (Buchanan/CS).

At the beginning of the 2022 season, then-junior Hilton Green of Buchanan (CS) was still acclimating to competing in the pole vault. His best then was an 11-6 and it came when he was a Clovis North freshman. After a full year off from both football and track when he transferred to Buchanan, Green, a wide receiver for football, came out for track and went right to the pole vault. Green went from novice to CIF State runner-up. He actually tied State champion Hunter O'Brien at 16-5, but finished second based on a tiebreaker. This season, Green didn't sneak up on anyone, and yet, his success has only grown. He enters this year's State Meet with California-best mark of 17-1. Green seems a favorite to win State, but he has competition.

Dylan Curtis (Redondo Union/SS) has a 16-6 PR and after winning the Southern Section Masters title he took three attempts at 17-3.25. He's joined by more CIF-SS standouts, senior and returning State Meet entrant Leo Davis (Newport Harbor/SS) and junior Jaden McKee (ML King/SS), also a State Meet returnee. Both have gone 16-0. Jacob Emerson (Sage Creek/SD), a junior, and sophomore Kai Anderson (University City/SD) recorded 15-6 in the San Diego Section Finals.

Max McFarlane (Turlock/SJ) is another State returnee. He went 15-6 earlier this year, but got into the State Meet as one of several to clear 15-0.


Pole Vault

State Meet Record - 14-02, Rachel Baxter (Canyon-Anaheim/SS), 2016.

Current State Leader - 14-0, Iliana Downing (La Costa Canyon/SD).

The CIF-State Meet girls pole vault record could be in jeopardy, based solely on what Iliana Downing (La Costa Canyon/SD) has already done as California's leading female vaulter at 14-0, only two inches shy of tying the State Meet performance in 2016. But Downing is one of nine girls making their second straight appearance in the State Meet. Two of them, Jordan Leveque (Buchanan/CS), a senior, and junior Aspen Fears (Vista Murrieta/SS), cleared 13-4 at their respective section's Masters Meet. Leveque's PR is actually 13-6, while Fears' 13-4 PR came last week.

Other State returners with their current marks are: Senior Lily Mulligan (Maria Carrillo/NC), 12-7; Jessica Thompson (Harvard Westlake/SS), a senior, at 12-3; Evangeline Thomson (Poway/SD) at 12-3; Madisyn Negro (Murrieta Valley/SS), a senior, at 12-3; Peyton Bedrosian (Paso Robles/CS), a junior, at 11-3; Jonelle Scott (Soquel/CC), a junior, at 11-0.

Of the State Meet returners who reached the State Finals last year, Thomson had the highest placing (fifth, 12-9), followed by Negro (12-5, sixth), Leveque (12-5, seventh), Downing (12-5, eighth) and Fears (12-5, ninth).

Others to watch include two more San Diego area vaulters in Poway senior Avery Hilliard, the SDS Division 1 champion at 13-3 (CA No. 5), and Del Norte sophomore Paige Echsner, who had a three-inch PR of 12-9 at last Saturday's SDS Finals. Jathiyah Muhammad, who won here last year as a sophomore at Dublin (NC), did not compete for the high school this spring.

Ryan Blystone is a freelance writer and an associate editor for MileSplitCA

California MileSplit editor Jeffrey Parenti contributed to this article

Photos by DeAnna Turner and Raymond Tran