PEARL – Bruce Hunt doesn’t look at the bar when he’s pole vaulting.
“I get intimidated,” he said. “I look at the pit instead.”
However, the Corinth pole vaulter’s slight fear of the high bar didn’t stop him from winning a state championship Friday at the MHSAA state track and field meet at Pearl High School.
Hunt, a junior in just his second season as a vaulter, won the event with a leap of 12-feet, 6-inches, then captured the classification record of 14-2 on his second attempt using a longer pole.
“I switched from a 14-foot pole to a 14-6 pole,” he said. “I didn’t know what to expect, but I thought I’d give (the record) a whack.”
The 3A pole vault record was a 14-1 set in 1997 by Dave Eckert of Franklin County while the overall record is a 14-11 set last year by Clinton’s Stephen Green.
“At first, I couldn’t believe I did it,” Hunt said, then smiled.
– Alcorn Central’s Samantha Sagley had a disappointing day in the 3A girls long jump. One of the favorites headed in, she placed third overall with a leap of 18-feet, 00.25-inches.
“I was mad,” said Sagley, a junior, who suffered a hamstring injury Monday in the weather-delayed North Mississippi meet in Oxford. “I wanted to win so bad in the long jump. This is my best event. I won it last year.”
An hour later, Sagley leaped to a state title and a class record in the triple jump with a 37-10 winner.
“Earlier, in the long jump, I was tense and tight,” she said. “I was nervous. I knew if I had relaxed, I would have done better.
“I knew I wasn’t going to let it happen to me in the triple jump.”
Sagley broke the record with her fifth jump.
“The judge told me after my fourth jump that I needed another four inches and I’d have the record,” she said. “I put a little extra stride in there on the last one.”
Not Will’s way
– Corinth distance runner Katlyn Will, an Alabama signee, ended her career with three second-place finishes in the 3A girls 800, 1,600 and 3,200 meters to her rival, Pass Christian’s Cory McGee.
McGee has been nationally-ranked all season in the 1,600.
“She’s an awesome runner,” Will said of McGee. “I’d rather run against the best person in the state and get second than not have any competition.”
Will, who has battled mono this season, says running the North Mississippi meet Monday hurt her recovery period for state.
Also in 3A girls, Corinth’s Iehsia Johnson won the discus with a throw of 124-feet, 3-inches.
In girls 4A, Pontotoc’s Rhandi Ball won the 100 meters in 12.28 while Oxford’s Anne Threlkeld captured the 1,600 meters in 5:26.95.
“I was looking to run in the 5:20s,” Threlkeld said. “I was right on it.”
In the 4A field events, Pontotoc’s Ebony Brinker won the triple jump with a 38-02.50.
In 4A boys, Pontotoc’s Xavian Evans won the discus with a throw of 147 feet, 11 inches.
In 3A boys, Aberdeen’s Mario Lucas took the high jump title with a leap of 6 feet, 6 inches.
Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal