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Reaching all the way up to the sky


Tualatin junior Laura Taylor wins state gold in the pole vault

by: DAN BROOD - VICTORIOUS VAULT -- Tualatin High School junior Laura Taylor clears the bar during the pole vault competition Friday at the Class 6A state track and field meet. Taylor took first place in the event with a height of 11-9. EUGENE — It was about a year ago.

Laura Taylor, then a Tualatin High School sophomore, had just finished sixth in the pole vault competition at the Class 6A State Track and Field Championships. Then, she noticed that the five competitors that finished ahead of her were all seniors.

That’s when the plan went into effect.

“I’ve been planning on this since state last year,” Taylor said on Friday. “I said ‘OK, I’ll do it next year.’ I was dreaming of it, and now, it’s a reality.”

And Taylor made her championship dream a reality in nearly perfect fashion.

Taylor, now a Tualatin junior, made her dream come true as she captured the championship in the pole vault competition at the 2013 OSAA Class 6A state track and field meet.

“I’m really happy,” Taylor said with a smile after receiving her championship medal. “It hasn’t really sunk in, yet, but it will. I really wanted it.”

Taylor’s championship in the pole vault provided the main highlight for the Tualatin teams at the Class 6A state meet, which was held Friday and Saturday at Hayward Field.

And Taylor showed right away during Friday’s pole vault competition that she very well could be in for a big day.

Taylor started the competition with the bar at 10 feet, 6 inches, and there were only six competitors left at that height.

Taylor cleared 10-6 on her first attempt at that height — and that would become the theme for the day.

Tigard sophomore Liz Prouty, Taylor’s friendly Pacific Conference rival, was the only other competitor to clear 10-6.

Taylor cleared 10-9 on her first attempt at that height. Prouty cleared that height on her second try.

With the bar at 11-0, Taylor again had a clearance on her first attempt. Prouty made it over on her second try.

Prouty then passed at 11-3, but Taylor took on that height, again making it over the bar on her first attempt.

Taylor and Prouty both had successful first attempts with the bar at 11-6.

At 11-9 Taylor again was successful on her first attempt. Prouty, who edged Taylor for first place at the Pacific Conference district meet the week before, wasn’t able to clear that height, meaning that Taylor had clinched the state title before she had even a single miss.

“That was the plan,” Taylor said with a smile. “I’m glad I stuck to it. I was on my game. I was focused — it felt right.”

Taylor took three tries at 12-0, but failed to clear that height. Still, she seemed overwhelmed with happiness from the state championship she clinched moments before.

“It was a relief,” Taylor said. “It’s so stressful when you’re competing.”

But one thing that may have taken a bit of that stress away was the fact that she was competing, again, with Prouty.

“We’re good friends,” Taylor said. “We talk all the time.”

“I think we push each other,” Prouty said.

“We’re competitive,” Taylor said. “But we like each other. When she beat me (at the district meet), it was OK.”

Also for the Tualatin girls at the state meet, senior Emily Wisler finished in fourth place in the triple jump event with a mark of 36-8.25.

Wisler also finished in 13th place in the long jump with a distance of 15-5.75.

Tualatin freshman Karina Moreland took 10th place in the triple jump with a mark of 35-5.5. Timberwolf junior Lauren Balsiger cleared 9-6 to finish in 10th place in the pole vault competition.

The Tualatin girls finished in 17th place in the team standings at the state meet with 15 points.

Junior Ryan Wisner led the way for the Tualatin boys at the state meet, as he finished in fourth place in Saturday’s high jump competition with a mark of 6-3.

“I would have liked to have done better, but it’s nice to get on the award stand,” he said.

The fourth-place finish capped off a strong year for Wisner, which saw him clear 6-6 and win the Pacific Conference title in the high jump.

“It was a good year,” he said. “Next year, I want to come back here to state and keep it going, and go for the school record.”

Tualatin sophomore Matthew Lovos ran to ninth place in the 3,000-meter run at the state meet in a time of 9 minutes, 5.16 seconds. Lovos also placed 12th in the 1,500 with a mark of 4:10.30.

Timberwolf senior Beau Kennedy was 11th in the triple jump with a distance of 42-3.75 and sophomore Garrison Saina placed 14th in the shot put with a throw of 41-8.

The Jesuit boys and the Lakeridge girls won the Class 6A team state championships.