Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Sports

June 13, 2013

What's in the water? Pole vaulters lift themselves to spotlight

(Continued)

Last season, on top of Mitch's state title and Goode's fifth-place showing, Alex McWhorter of Teutopolis made some waves by finishing sixth in Class 1A.

His clearance of 13-9 marked a jump of nine places from the previous season, when he managed a 13-foot jump to land in 15th. Short said that all schools seem to be churning out higher vaults and deeper rosters, and that he has even had junior high students itching to give it a try.

"Effingham's numbers are up, and T-town's numbers are up," Short said. "I've got eighth-grade kids just begging to get into the pole vault."

On the girls side, an Effingham area state qualifier has made it to the finals five times in the last five years. This year, Sara Wortman of St. Anthony and Teutopolis' Rachel Westendorf delivered top-ten vaults. Wortman placed ninth and Westendorf 10th in Class 1A.

In 2012, Effingham's Chelsea Bingham finished fifth in Class 2A. Her jump of 11-3 was good enough to earn a spot on the Lady Cardinals track and field squad at the University of Louisville.

Westendorf also made an appearance in the finals in 2012, placing 12th (9-09).

"The girls part has really picked up as well," Short said. "There have been some great local girl (vaulters) making it to the state finals, some young girls that have potential."

Not surprisingly, a Newton athlete started the recent trend. After a rare year in 2011 when nobody made the finals, Megan Jansen, then just a freshman, finished 10th for the Lady Eagles by vaulting 9-09.

With 15 appearances in the boys finals since 2003, and five on the girls side since 2010, the Effingham area has become fertile ground for some of the state's best vaulters.

The secret's out.

Braden Layer can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 123, or at braden.layer@effinghamdailynews.com

 

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