By BRADEN LAYER
---- — CHARLESTON — Effingham's Clark Williamson narrowly qualified for the Class 2A State Track and Field Meet at Eastern Illinois University, but in Friday's preliminaries, he showed precisely why he belonged among the top competitors in the pole vault.Williamson cleared the bar on each of his first three jumps, including a 13 foot, 9-inch performance on his last attempt of the day, to set a personal record and solidify his spot in today's state finals."I felt good this morning when I woke up," Williamson said. "I got a good meal in and got to come up here and perform my best."Whatever Williamson may have munched on to calm his nerves should become his new go-to breakfast.In his first jump of the day, Williamson breezed over the 13-foot bar. His next vault was at 13 feet, 6inches, three higher than his qualifying effort at sectionals.Williamson met the bigger stage with a bigger effort, successfully navigating the jump without much cause for concern."I performed well today," Williamson said. "I had good form. I was a little worried about my pole being stiff from the cold, but I left it in my bag, the bag kept it warm."Donning sweatpants and an Effingham hoodie in between jumps, Williamson kept his body warm and relaxed despite the sub-60 degree weather as he prepared for the final jump of the day. While his competitors often needed two or three stabs at a given height, Williamson brushed the bar at 13 feet, 9inches, but it came to rest without crashing down. In three quick jumps, Williamson was headed to today's finals.Teammate Thomas Lasher was also in action Friday, competing in the triple jump. After qualifying for the meet with a 45 foot, one-inch jump in sectional action, Lasher and the rest of the field struggled to get loose against the brisk temperatures."It actually affected me a lot," Lasher said. "My muscles were all cramped up, and before jumping I was like, 'Oh geeze.'"Lasher's best jump of the day was his first, where he landed at 41 feet, 5.75 inches."The first one, I was warm, I was ready to go," he said. "I had that mental factor where I was ready to get this done right."Lasher's second jump carried 40 feet, 8.75 inches and his third was a fault. His best effort was good enough for a 19th-place finish.Though he didn't qualify for today's finals, Lasher was just excited for a final chance to compete."I got to have one last meet with my coach (Terry Harbaugh) and my teammate (Williamson) here. I'm happy that I got to see him jump."
Braden Layer can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or at firstname.lastname@example.org
IHSA Class 2A State MeetResultsPole Vault-1. Williamson (Effingham)*-13-09.Long Jump-1. Ward (Cahokia)*-22-09.75.High Jump-1. Weber (Rochelle)*-6-03.Shot Put-1. Augusta (Peoria)*-62-04. Triple Jump-1. Moore (Cahokia)*-46-10. 19. Lasher (Effingham)-41-05.75.4x800 Relay-1. Normal (University)*-8:04.58.4x100 Relay-1. North Lawndale Charter*-43.17.110-Meter Hurdles-1. Hickman (Cahokia)*-14.61.100-Meter Dash-1. Bratton (Jacksonville)*-10.59.800-Meter Run-1. Justus (Pontiac)*-1:55.834x200 Relay-1. East St. Louis*-1:29.30.400-Meter Dash-1. Brady (Cahokia)*-49.42.300-Meter Hurdles-1. Greer (East St. Louis)*-38.21. 1600-Meter Run-1. McInerney (Charleston)*-4:20.41.200-Meter Dash-1. Adeyemo (Hillcrest)*-21.89.
4x400 Relay-1. East St. Louis*-3:21.48.