By Joe Naiman
The high school track and field state meet last weekend in Clovis began with preliminaries on May 31, and in the girls pole vault the opening height was 11’4” — one inch higher than the 11’3” personal record of Ramona High School junior Courtney Jackson who had qualified for state.
“It was a little bit of a shock,” said head coach Sherri Edwards.
Jackson failed to clear the bar on any of her three attempts.
“It was kind of a rough state meet for her,” Edwards said. “It was disappointing, but at the same time it was a good experience for her.”
Jackson had entered the season with a personal record of 8’6”. She cleared 9’7” to win the March 9 Bronco Invitational meet and set not only a personal record but a new school record. Jackson extended the record several times during the season before clearing 11’3” at the Valley League meet, the CIF San Diego Section preliminaries, and the CIF section finals. She won the league meet and was third among all vaulters in the CIF section finals while earning a second-place medal for her place among Division I girls.
The top three vaulters at the section meet qualified for the state meet.
“Hopefully we’ll be back up there next year,” Edwards said.
Some of the girls at the state meet had cleared distances exceeding 13 feet.
“We knew that the competition was going to be tough, but I don’t think we could have prepared for it any other way,” Edwards said.
“She learned a lot,” said the coach. “It’s a whole different state of mind.”
Edwards believes that Jackson will take those lessons into account during the 2014 season.
“She doesn’t shy away from hard work,” Edwards said. “She’s going to be a role model.”
The state meet was held at Buchanan High School.
“It was a good trip for Courtney,” Edwards said. “She saw the fruition of her hard work, but at the same time she learned what she had to do.”