Tualatin senior Laura Taylor sets a new state meet standard as she wins her second straight pole vault title

by: DAN BROOD - HIGH IN THE SKY -- Tualatin senior Laura Taylor clears the bar during the Class 6A girls pole vault competition.EUGENE — Laura Taylor was in some pain.

Her left ankle was wrapped in ice.

Yet, she was smiling.

It wasn’t just any smile.

It was a big, bright, championship smile.

Taylor, a Tualatin High School senior came to the Class 6A state track and field championships looking to get another title and a record to go along with it.

And, by the smile on her face, it’s easy to tell — she got both.

Taylor repeated as the Class 6A state girls pole vault champion by triumphing in that event with a new meet record of 12 feet, 8 inches during action Friday at the state championships.

“This means a lot to me,” Taylor said after receiving her championship medal. “I’m so happy to be a two-time state champion and to get the meet record. That’s more than I could ever ask for.”

Taylor’s championship performance provided just one of the highlights for the Timberwolf teams at the state meet, which concluded Saturday at Hayward Field.

But it would be hard for anyone to top Taylor’s accomplishments.

“She’s our team leader,” Tualatin coach Paul Zitzelsberger said. “To do it again says a lot about her. It’s harder to repeat, but she’s a pretty even-keel kid. She’s been real fun here, and I’m sure she’ll do well at the University of Kansas.”

Taylor, who won the state title last year with a mark of 11-9, cruised through the early part of Friday’s girls pole vault event.

She entered the competition with the bar set at 11-3 and easily sailed over that height on her first attempt.

by: DAN BROOD - I DID IT -- Tualatin senior Laura Taylor smiles and claps her hands after clearing a new meet-record height of 12-8 in the pole vault competition at the Class 6A state track and field championships.That left her alone with Lake Oswego’s Tory Edwards and Marissa Taylor as the only jumpers left with the bar moving up to 11-6. The Laker duo missed on that height, leaving Laura Taylor, who pass on that height, as the state champion.

But she wasn’t nearly done left.

She cleared 11-9 and 12-4 on her first tries at each of those heights.

From there, she had the bar moved to 12-8 — and this was the vault she was waiting for.

For Taylor, a successful clearance at that height would break her own personal best, which was 12-7, break the Tualatin school record, again 12-7, and it would better South Eugene’s Lindsey Beard’s Class 6A meet record of 12-7.

It didn’t take Taylor long to break all of those records, as she cleared 12-8 on her first try.

“I don’t really remember it, but it felt good,” Taylor said of her record-breaking vault. “It was a technique thing, so I really focused on what I needed to do.”

After her record-breaking vault, Taylor quickly took aim at another record — the all-time state record of 13-0, set by Sarah Sasaki of North Clackamas Christian in 1999.

Taylor came close, but missed, on her first attempt at 13-0.25. She missed again on her second try and, making thing worse, she suffered a sprained left ankle on that attempt.

“I considered not trying again, but it was just one more vault,” she said.

And, on that last vault, she almost pulled off a dramatic feat, as she just missed clearing the bar, sprained ankle and all.

But, still, her smile shined bright.

“I was relaxed,” she said “I just relaxed and executed — that’s all there is to it.”

And, with that, she got to celebrate a state championship for the second straight year. Although, Taylor says, it’s hard to compare her two state pole vault titles.

“It’s two different things,” she said. “Nothing was sure last year. I was competing with (Tigard’s) Liz (Prouty). It was more surreal. This year is up there, too. I got the meet record, and that’s important to me, and I really wanted a P.R.”

by: DAN BROOD - FLOATING -- Tualatin High School senior Ryan Wisner sails over the bar during the high jump competition Satuday at the Class 6A state track and field championships. Wisner took second place with a height of 6-6. In addition to her victory in the pole vault, Taylor also finished in 11th place in Friday’s Class 6A girls long jump competition.

Tualatin senior Ryan Wisner nearly won a championship of his own, as he took second place in Saturday’s boys high jump competition with a mark of 6-6.

“That means a lot to me,” Wisner said. “I’m glad I could do well as a senior.”

Wisner, who placed fourth in the high jump at state last year, had a season-best mark of 6-3 going into this year’s meet. But he had no trouble bettering that on Saturday.

He cleared 6-4, 6-5 and 6-6 on his first attempt at each of those heights.

“I was just feeling it,” he said. “Clearing those on my first attempt gave me confidence.”

Wisner barely missed clearing the bar on his first try at 6-7.

“I thought I had it,” he said with a DAN BROOD - ALL-OUT EFFORT -- Tualatin High School sophomore Karina Moreland goes for all she can in the triple jump. She ended up placing fifth.

He also just missed on his next two attempts, leaving Dustin Harrah of Grants Pass, who cleared 6-7, as the state champion. Meanwhile, Wisner’s mark of 6-6 tied his personal best.

“It was a good day,” he said. “That was a good way to finish my senior year.”

Tualatin sophomore Karina Moreland, competing at the state meet for the second straight year, finished in fifth place in Saturday’s girls triple jump competition with a mark of 36-9.5.

“That’s exciting,” she said. “That’s way better than last year (when she placed 10th at 35-5.5).”

She’s hoping to continue that pattern as a junior.

“I’m looking forward to doing even better next year,” she said. “I want to keep improving.”

Also for Tualatin at the state meet, junior Jordan Wilson finished in 12th place in the boys triple jump with a mark of 19-2.75.

Nick Hines finished 12th in the preliminaries of the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.46 seconds.

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