Defending state champ Laura Taylor continues her record-breaking season in the pole vault

by: DAN BROOD - ALL SMILES -- Tualatin senior Laura Taylor smiles bright following her final attempt at 12-6.TUALATIN — To be honest, there doesn’t look to be a lot of competition for Laura Taylor in the Class 6A girls pole vault ranks.

But the Tualatin High School senior doesn’t seem to be lacking in motivation.

Not in the slightest.

She just keeps going higher, and higher, and higher.

She hit her highest mark of the season — so far — when the Timberwolves hosted Tigard last week as she soared to a record-breaking, winning height of 12 feet, 3 inches at the meet.

“I’m happy,” she said with her usual bright smile following her victorious performance.

Taylor, and the rest of the Tualatin girls, had plenty of reasons to be happy as they edged the rival Tigers 75-70 in a Pacific Conference dual meet held April 9 at Tualatin High School.

With the victory, the Timberwolves improved to 2-0 in conference meets while Tigard moved to 1-1.

At that meet, Taylor set a new school record with her height of 12-3. That broke the old school record of 12-0, which Taylor set just five days before that at the Laker Classic Invitational held at Lake Oswego High School.

Taylor’s 12-3 mark at last week’s meet is a new personal best in outdoor competition (her indoor meet top height is 12-5.5).

That all puts Taylor well ahead of her junior season pace, when she triumphed at the Class 6A state championships with a height of 11-9.

While many of the other top Class 6A girls pole vaulters from a year ago have since graduated, Taylor was expected to continue her friendly rivalry with Tigard junior Liz Prouty this season. But Prouty, who edged Taylor for the Pacific Conference district championship last year and finished second to her at the state championships, has been out of action all year due to a foot injury.

So, while Taylor held the top Class 6A pole vault mark with last week’s winning height of 12-3, the next best mark, as of Tuesday, in the Class 6A ranks is 10-7, set by Joanna Galli of Grants Pass.

“There’s not much competition in 6A this year,” Taylor said. “I don’t really have anyone to push meww.”

But, again, that doesn’t mean that Taylor isn’t extremely motivated.

For example, Churchill senior Samantha Tollerud, who completes in the Class 5A division, has cleared a height of 12-0 this season, putting her second to Taylor for the top mark in the entire state.

“She’s my competition in the state,” Taylor said.

And then there’s Taylor’s friend Alexis Romero, who is a senior at Wooten High School in Reno, Nev. Romero leads all Nevada girls pole vaulters this season with a height of 12-1.

“I can’t let her get ahead of me,” Taylor said. “It’s a friendly competition.”

And then there certainly seems to be a sense of pride, and determination, with Taylor, who recently gave a verbal commitment to compete for the University of Kansas next year.

“I don’t want to be that senior who commits and then doesn’t do well,” Taylor said.

If last week’s meet is any indication, there’s no need to worry about that.

by: DAN BROOD - IN FLIGHT -- Tualatin sophomore Karina Moreland won both the long jump and triple jump events for the Timberwolf girls in their victory over Tigard.Taylor set her new school record of 12-3 in her first attempt at that mark, before missing at 12-6.

“This was just a good day,” she said. “The weather was nice, and I did less events, so I had fresh legs.”

Taylor’s only other event at last week’s meet with Tigard was the 4 x 100-meter relay, where she teamed with junior Jasmine Gilmore, sophomore Karina Moreland and junior Aryana Harvey to pick up a victory in a time of 51.58 seconds.

Moreland also jumped her way to a pair of wins at the meet. She triumphed in the long jump with a mark of 15-6.25 and she had a winning distance of 34-6.5 in the triple jump.

Sophomore Nicole LaTourette also was a three-time victor at the meet. She sprinted to victory in the 200 in 27.29 and she had a winning mark of 1:02.25 in the 400. in the 4 x 400 relay, LaTourette teamed with freshman Jordan Anderson, sophomore Emily Leonard and Gilmore to win in 4:21.98.

Also for the Tualatin girls, Anderson won the 100 in 13.31 and junior Tegan Bracha cleared 4-7 to place first in the high jump.

he Tualatin boys were edged 81-64 by Tigard in last week’s meet, giving the Wolves a 0-2 mark in conference meets.

But the Tualatin boys had their share of excitement in the meet. Timberwolf junior Matthew Lovos picked up what could be called an interesting win in the 1,500.

In that race, Lovos and Tualatin sophomore Mark French were battling Tigard seniors Martin Ramos III and Devin Roche — with the battle being for who could stay out of the lead in the early part of the race.

“That was the most unique race I’ve been in,” Lovos said. “We didn’t want to be in the lead, and they didn’t either.”

by: DAN BROOD - KICKING -- Tualatin junior Matthew Lovos (left) has the lead as he enters the final stretch of the 1,500. That all lead to a full sprint to the finish, with Lovos winning the race in a time of 4:34.87.

“The first part of the race was so slow that I was able to start my kick with 400 to go,” Lovos said. “I was going full speed on the back stretch. The time was slow, but that didn’t matter as long as we got the win. Those Tigard kids are great athletes. I knew it would be a battle.”

French took second place in the race with a time of 4:37.60.

Later in the meet, Lovos, running his first 3,000 of the season, won that race in a time of 9:32.70.

Also for the Tualatin boys, senior Nick Hines sprinted to victory in the 100 in 11.31, senior Robbie Ellis has a winning time of 41.60 in the 300 intermediate hurdles, senior Grant Nielsen won the shot put with a mark of 42-5, senior Austin Balfour triumphed in the shot put with a distance of 110-11, senior Mark Toda had a winning toss of 137-9 in the javelin and junior Jordan Wilson triumphed in the long jump with a mark of 19-6.

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