Tolar’s two state meet qualifiers in pole vault didn’t earn a medal over the weekend, but both are confident that they will have another chance to return to Austin.
Tolar junior Reagon Mabery was a foot and a half below the eventual winner in the girls pole vault, while Rattler teammate Rodie Brister was 21 inches back of the winner in the boys division.
Mabery’s height of 10 feet, 6 inches was equaled by two others, but she earned fifth place based on fewer misses. The winner, Madison Pecot of White Oak, reached 12-0, while the runner-up, Kaylynn Grudzieski of Edna, was 11-3.
Among the boys, Brister took fifth place at 13-6. Daven Murphree of Harmony won with a vault of 15-3, while White Oak’s Riley Lakin was runner-up at 14-9.
Miller said Mabery did well, considering that she suffered a groin injury in practice Monday after the pole slipped out of her hands and “slapped” her, leaving her “badly bruised.”
“She hadn’t been able to work out,” Miller said of the days leading up to the state competition. “We had our chances to get on the medal stand, so that’s all you can ask for. We were a little tentative. She’s a trooper. All things considered, she did well.”
Mabery, a junior who was making her third straight appearance at the state meet as a pole vaulter, said she didn’t think the injury affected her running during her approach to the pit. In fact, she said she was feeling some pain during her warmups, but it seemed to go away before the first official jump.
“My run felt a lot faster than it has in a while,” Mabery said. “I forgot I was hurt.”
Mabery said she was already friends with the girl from Whitney, Sam Redding, who took the third-place medal at 11-0, and had even practiced together in the past.
“It was a good experience,” Tolar track coach Gregg Lee said. “Reagan had to overcome adversity, so I am proud of her. She did a good job. She overcame a lot.”
Lee also praised Brister, saying that this year provided the sophomore with valuable experience.
“Rodie is going to be back down there next year and the year after that,” Lee said. “Rodie’s (competition) was more about the experience, so the next two years he can compete at the highest level.”
Miller said Brister had plenty of height to clear 14-0, but unfortunately made contact with the bar and knocked it off on the way down each time.
“He was probably one and a half feet feet over the bar – way over it,” Miller said. “He never really got comfortable on the runway, but he was jumping really high.
“I think one more attempt, and he would have had all the math figured out. His jumps were massive. He was coming down on top of (the bar), hitting the back side of it.”
Brister said he thought he did “all right,” adding, “I just didn’t get anything going. It didn’t feel right. Coach Miller said I was probably a little close.”
Brister’s regional height of 14-0 was a school record.
He said he is looking forward to improving for his junior year of competition.
“I’ll probably be bigger and it will probably be easier to get higher,” Brister said.
Mabery spoke with confidence when asked about her chances next year as a senior to perform the rare feat of four straight years at state.
“It’s going to be exciting to make it four years in a row,” she said. “I hope to do that, and maybe set a record or two.”
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