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By Greg Lee
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So the Timberlake sophomore decided to use a new pole at the State 3A meet Friday afternoon.
The risky proposition paid off in a state championship as
Simmons soared a school record 10 feet, 6 inches at
“The (old) pole was bending too much,” said Simmons, who went over 11-0 in practice this week. “It was a little risky to change before state, but at the same time I was confident.”
Simmons’ winning mark exceeded her previous best by six inches. She started the event by making four straight heights on her first attempt. When she reached 10-0, she needed all three tries. Then she cleared 10-6 on her first vault.
“I have no answer why I did it on my first and I did 10-0 on my third,” she said.
Her goal next year is 12-0. And she wants to be well over that by the end of her senior year.
Simmons is in one other event, the 400-meter relay. She’ll run the second leg in the race today. Timberlake is seeded second.
“I think we can win it,” she said.
Simmons’ teammate, senior Travis Porter, took second in the high jump. But by the way he reacted after clearing a personal-best 6-6, one would have thought he had won.
It was a personal record by three inches.
“My goal was 6-4,” said Porter, who earlier in the day took third in the triple jump (43-2¾). “I knew if I cleared 6-4 clean I’d be in the top three.”
He cleared his first three heights with ease on his first attempts. But when he reached 6-4, he encountered a challenge.
At 6-6, it appeared he cleared on his first try, but he just nicked the bar.
“My first and third attempts felt real good,” Porter said of the jumps at 6-6. “My first one gave me the confidence that I could do it. I felt I was way over it on the first one.”
Porter took three jumps at 6-8. His final attempt was his best effort at the height.
Porter, who won the triple jump as a sophomore, rebounded at state after a horrible season a year ago when he took sixth in the triple and finished out of the medals at 10th in the high jump.
Taking second in the high jump was more than small consolation for Porter.
“I’d be happier if I’d won, but I wouldn’t be feeling much happier than I am now,” Porter said, smiling.
Timberlake’s boys go into the final day in first with 43 points, 5 2/3rds ahead of favored Payette.
A surprise for Timberlake’s boys was senior Andrew McLean, who took second in the discus with a personal best (142-3) by more than six feet.
“I was seeded fifth, but I was hoping to get third or
Another Timberlake senior, Colton Fulwiler, took second in the pole vault (12-0).
Chelsea Morgan of Kellogg took second in the high jump with a vault of 5-2. She finished in a four-way tie for third last year.
She matched her personal best and actually finished tied with the best jump. But she got second because the winner made 5-2 on her first jump while Morgan got it on her third attempt.
“I actually had the fewest misses overall,” Morgan said. “I just really, really wanted a gold for my last year. It was there.”
Morgan said Kellogg athletes received good news this week. Last month, Kellogg announced it was dropping track, baseball, softball, girls soccer and wrestling because a levy held in late March had failed. But the school board has decided to reinstate the sports, Morgan said.
Other 3A medal winners were: Chad Yount of Priest River took second in the discus (48-11); Timberlake’s boys were second in the medley (3:40.88) while St. Maries took fifth (3:45.12); Taylor Stewart of Priest River took second in the shot (36-1) and fifth in the discus (110-1); Ryan Sacksteder of Timberlake was fourth in the 3,200 (10:11.45); Leila Riley of Timberlake took fourth in discus (112-2); Melissa Hopkins of Priest River took fourth in the triple jump (34-2½); freshman Ashly George of Timberlake (11:55.15); the Bonners Ferry and Priest River girls medleys took third (1:55.26) and fourth (1:55.88) respectively.
In 2A, Sabrina Ewing of Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy, the defending state champ in the triple jump, took second (35-8½) but didn’t make the finals in the long jump. She’ll be out to defend her title in the high jump today.
Leo Frankovich of CCA took third in the 3,200 (9:57.66) while teammates Rory Ruskovich and Daniel Pinkerton took fifth (10:15.77) and sixth (10:17.14) respectively and the CCA girls took fourth in the medley (1:54.05).
In 1A, Kootenai senior Gina Palmiter captured gold in the pole vault with a jump of 8-6.
Morgan Koenig of Mullan took third in the high jump (5-2) and Ellison Schultz of Kootenai took sixth in the 3,200 (12:22.72).