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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Prep track notebook: U-Hi’s Noah Martin soaring to new heights

Noah Martin, practicing the pole vault last season, is a dual threat for University. The Montana State-bound senior is aiming for 16 feet in the vault and 7-4 in the high jump. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Noah Martin, practicing the pole vault last season, is a dual threat for University. The Montana State-bound senior is aiming for 16 feet in the vault and 7-4 in the high jump. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

When Noah Martin looks up, the University senior doesn’t see a ceiling.

At least not anymore.

All Martin sees is sky and more sky. It’s appropriate considering he spends much time on his back trying to get over the high jump and pole vault bars.

The start to the spring has been record-breaking for Martin.

A year ago, he came within an inch of eclipsing the magical 7-foot barrier in the high jump. In his first Greater Spokane League meet before spring break, he got over by a half inch, breaking the school mark, set by Jeff Barrett in 1977, by a quarter inch.

His previous high school best, 6-11, came last year at an early May league dual. It broke the league record of 6-10½ set by Steve Lucas of Mead in 1983.

“It came from all the work I put in,” Martin said.

Martin captured the State 4A title with, for him, a pedestrian 6-8 – considering that at a height of 6-5, he can look over the standard on tippy toes.

He broke the record on his second attempt.

“I was well over the bar,” he said.

Then Martin had the bar set at 7-2.

“My first attempt was my best,” he said. “It was pretty close. I knocked it down with my legs.”

Martin has improved measurably since his sophomore season best of 6-0 – respectable at the time but well in the rearview mirror now.

His high jump coach, Liz Wardsworth, who is also U-Hi’s girls head coach, expects Martin to go higher.

“In high jump there are certain marks we call glass ceilings,” she said. “Once they hit one of those marks, it’s the next height they look for. Now that he’s cracked 7 foot, a lot of that doubt and questioning is gone. He knows he can get there. The sky’s the limit for him.”

His personal best is the overall best in the state this spring. But he wants to go higher.

Martin sees himself getting as high as 7-4.

“I know I can do it,” Martin said. “The key is getting my hips over. Timing and going over the bar at my highest point are important.”

The all-time state best is 7-4½ by Rick Noji of Franklin in 1985. Noji also holds the Pasco Invite record at 7-2½, also set in 1985. Martin will be seeking to break that mark Saturday at the 55th annual meet.

He won’t be doing any other events at Pasco. He will solely focus on the high jump.

The other event that occupies his time is pole vault. His personal best, 15-0, came almost a year to this date. He did 14-0 at the regional meet but didn’t qualify for state.

He wants to extend his best to 16-0 and challenge for a state title.

Martin is headed to Montana State University to be a decathlete. To that end, he’ll dabble in the hurdles, long jump and the javelin at duals. He’ll only do those events to score points for the team. Come postseason it’ll be just the high jump and pole vault.

His mom, Sue (Klee) Martin played basketball at MSU.

Martin, who has a 3.4 grade-point average, plans to study engineering.

Wardsworth said Martin is a joy to be around.

“What I love about Noah is he’s coachable,” she said. “He listens and he’s a student of the events. He understands when I explain something to him and he trusts me. He’s a good leader for us.”

Drought over

Nobody knows the exact number of consecutive losses but the Rogers boys won their first GSL dual since 2006 when the Pirates edged Shadle Park in a league opener in late March.

Big meets

GSL teams return to duals Thursday after getting in season-opening meets the week before spring break.

The schedule features a dual that should go far in determining the girls title. Defending champ CV, which has won or shared the last four titles, visits Lewis and Clark. The meet at Hart Field begins at 4.

LC had a share of the league title with CV and Mt. Spokane in 2014 but is seeking its first outright title since 2005. The meet should be nothing short of entertaining – even if the forecast holds true and it rains.

The first big invitational is Saturday when 32 area teams, including all the GSL schools, will be at the 55th annual Pasco Invite.

A number of area athletes have an opportunity to compete against high-caliber competition. And with a promising forecast of mid-70 temperatures, there could be some outstanding marks.

Early highlights

There have been a number of noteworthy times and marks posted by area athletes. Here’s a sampling: Justin Janke of North Central finished 26th in the elite heat of a 3,200 meters race at the Arcadia Invitational last weekend in Los Angeles. His time was 9:07.45. It ranks No. 1 in the state for 3A and second overall. … Hayden Dressel of Mt. Spokane finished sixth in the mile (4:18.69) at the Stanford Invitational. The time converts to 4:17.19 for a 1,600. … Post Falls’ Melody Kempton, who won a state title in the high jump last year as a freshman, jumped a personal best 5-8 in her first meet, extending her school record. … Coeur d’Alene thrower Grady Leonard threw the shot put 56-5½ and discus 174-1. … Speaking of CdA, the Vikings sent a handful of athletes to the Pulse Invitational in the Boise area last week. Top efforts included winners Zac Magee in the 400 (48.98) and Emily Callahan in the 400 (58.93). … Sophomore Sienna Swannack of Lakeside (Nine Mile) went 5-6 in the high jump. … Rylie Pease of Cheney had a personal best in the javelin (136-4). … Jacob Barnes of Mt. Spokane came within five inches of hitting 200 feet in the javelin. His 199-7 is the overall best mark in Washington this season.

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