It’s not often the state champion pole vaulter celebrates by inviting the runner-up over to the house for a sleepover.
But that’s what Lakeside High School sophomore Ali Forsyth did Friday afternoon after winning the girls 2A pole vault during the second day of competition at the State 2A/1A/B track and field championships at Eastern Washington University’s Woodward Field.
It helped, of course, that it was Forsyth’s junior teammate, Chey Scott, who finished second.
“She’s spending the night at my house tonight,” Forsyth said of Scott shortly after setting a school record with a vault of 9 feet, 9 inches to beat everyone in the finals – with the exception of Scott – by more than a foot. “Our pool is open, and we’re going to celebrate by going swimming!”
And why not?
The two close friends, who also compete in gymnastics together, have wrapped up their track and field seasons and will do nothing more than watch during the final day of state meet that kicks off at 9 this morning with the B girls pole vault.
“This is it for us,” said Forsyth. “We’re not really good at any other event, so this makes it easy.”
Still, their contributions were enough to push Lakeside into the lead in the 2A team standings with 32 points. Pullman leads Cascade 20-19 for second.
Perhaps the toughest job during Friday’s gold-medal battle between Forsyth and Scott belonged to Paul Huffman, who serves as an assistant coach for the Eagles and works with pole vaulters and high jumpers.
Huffman was responsible for providing encouragement and suggestions to both vaulters, without giving the perception he was playing favorites. It was a job, however, with which he is eminently familiar and glad to handle.
“I’ve had to deal with it all year,” Huffman said, “and I’ve never had a satisfied practice. One of them has a good practice and the other has a really disappointing practice. And it’s the same way in meets – one of them has a great meet and wins, and the other one doesn’t.
“It’s a curse, but it’s also awesome, because you know if one of them doesn’t have a good meet, the other is going to pick it up. We’ve gotten better as a team, because the two of them compete every day. And it’s as special a thing as any coach can have to have them finish 1-2 at state. I’m very fortunate.”
Other than Lakeside’s 1-2 finish in the pole vault, there wasn’t much for local teams to celebrate in the way of championships.
Lakeside junior Kelsey Stillar finished second in the discus with a throw of 117-10, and freshman teammate Kelli Tikker finished third in 400-meter dash with a time of 59.57 seconds.
Pullman sophomore Lexie Fairbanks placed third in the high jump with a leap of 5-2 and teammate Danielle Haynes was fifth in the long jump with a leap of 17-¾.
Cedar Park has the team lead with 22 points, followed by Seattle Academy and LaConner with 21 each.
University Prep’s Katherine Reynolds, who won the 100, 200, 400 and long jump for the second straight year as a sophomore last spring, decided to play tennis this year and is not competing.
Top local finishers in Friday’s finals included Colfax sophomore Lauren Mellor, who placed third in the 400 in 1:01.25; Freeman junior Jessie DePell, who took fourth in the pole vault by clearing 9-6, and Newport’s Vanessa Curry, whose heave of 34-9½ was good for a fourth-place finish in the shot put.
Northport’s Kaprina Goodwin made her State B debut a huge success by winning the triple jump with a leap of 34-9, but the day’s top effort came from Bickleton’s Annie Hess, who won the discus with a meet-record toss of 146-10 that shattered the old mark of 141-3, set just last spring by Crescent’s Ruth Wilhelm.
Goodwin, the daughter of Northport coach Jim Goodwin, battled persistent winds to capture her gold medal.
“It feels very good,” she said of her win, knowing she can add to her medal count today in the 300 and 100 hurdles. “I definitely felt I had my best chance of winning in the triple jump, but we’ll see.”
LaCrosse-Washtucna junior Pam Passmore won the javelin with a heave of 132-2, easily beating Tacoma Baptist’s Tara Leaman, who finished second at 126-9.
Heading into today’s final day of competition, Tacoma Baptist leads the team standing with 36 points, followed by Riverside Christian with 12.
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