The pole vaulting postseason meets have all been clean sweeps for the Keller school district, and this week’s UIL state meet will have a heavy Keller ISD flavor, too.
Through the district, area and regional qualifying meets, pole vaulters from Keller Central, Keller, Keller Fossil Ridge and Keller Timber Creek have all occupied the top spots.
The boys Class 6A pole vault event is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Saturday in Austin, at the University of Texas Mike Myers Track Complex.
Central senior Logan Freeman, Keller senior Eric Etie, and Fossil Ridge sophomore Connor Gregston all cleared 15 feet, 6 inches at the 6A Region I meet April 28-29. Freeman earned gold based on fewer misses, Etie was second, and Gregston got the wild card spot for the best third-place finish among regional-meet competitors.
No other school district has three competitors in the same event at the state meet. Not to be forgotten, Timber Creek senior Kamron Gopffarth finished fourth in each of the three meets leading up to state.
All four began pole vaulting in seventh or eighth grade, so Gregston has only been jumping for three seasons.
“It was kind of our goal and plan through the entire season for us to go to state,” Gregston said. “We thought it could happen but we’re still pretty excited that it did happen.”
Freeman, who won the regional for the second straight year, admits it’s become a friendly rivalry among the KISD contingent.
“The pole vaulters are our community, so we know each other pretty well,” Freeman said.
“We’re really close and I consider them family,” Etie added. “They’re my pole vault family and they opened their arms to me and it’s a great friendship.”
Many of the local pole vaulters have gotten started through the local Pole Cats club, headed by former coach Hal Theodore.
Now, Freeman, Etie and Gregston get extra, specialized pole vault training through Texas Elite Sports.
Although they all train together outside of their respective school workouts, Etie noted they all have different styles and approaches to clearing the same bar.
“We all have different styles of jumping. But it’s hard to teach another pole vaulter, because we have different form and different runs [to the box],” said Etie, who will compete for Wichita State next year.
Among state qualifiers, the three are tied at 15-6 with Chrystian Sampy of Houston Stratford and Robert Platt of Richmond George Ranch.
The five trail the 16-4.75 mark of top seed Branson Ellis of Tyler Lee.
As Freeman, an undeclared college commit, returns to the state meet this year, he hopes his experience will pay off.
“You just have to stay focused and don’t psych yourself out,” he said. “Just stay focused on the one goal.”
UIL STATE MEET QUALIFIERS
WHEELCHAIR – 100 meters: Jordan Lee, Lamar; Merit McKittrick, Godley. 400: Jordan Lee, Lamar; Merit McKittrick, Godley. Shot put: Jordan Lee, Lamar
CLASS 6A – 3200: Gillian Mortimer, Carroll. 800: Isabel Van Kamp, Keller. High jump: Jillian Johnson, Mansfield. Long jump: Jadah Walker, Martin. Shot put: Brooke McKeel, Martin
CLASS 5A – 3200: Maddie Vondra, Arlington Heights; Lauren Edwards, Grapevine. 4x100: Mansfield Lake Ridge 800: Gracie Morris, Aledo; Ty’Asia Coleman, Saginaw; Soren Underwood, Joshua. 100 hurdles: Amani Lawerence, Saginaw. 100: Ja’Leesa Giles, Legacy; Kelly Rowe, Lake Ridge. 4x200: Trimble Tech. 400: Ariel Ford, Lake Ridge. 200: Ja’Leesa Giles, Legacy. 300 hurdles: Elizabeth Adeoye, Summit. 1600: Binta Ka, Richland; Gracie Morris, Aledo. 4x400: Lake Ridge. High jump: Lauren Chasczewski, Grapevine. Long jump: Chante Mathews, Chisholm Trail; Imunique Billingsly, Summit; Jasmine Moore, Lake Ridge. Pole vault: Allyn Tyer, Eaton; Sierra White, Aledo. Shot put: Faith Ette, Lake Ridge. Triple jump: Mikeska Gill, Saginaw; Valencia Bullock, Lake Ridge; Jasmine Moore, Lake Ridge
CLASS 4A – 3200: Emily Garcia, Alvarado. 4x100: Kennedale. 100 hurdles: Jaycee Pannell, Godley; Mackenzie Molina, Lake Worth. 100: Alexis Brown, Kennedale. 4x200: Kennedale. 300 hurdles: Mackenzie Molina, Lake Worth; Jaycee Pannell, Godley. High jump: Ally Andress, Glen Rose. Long jump: Alexis Brown, Kennedale
CLASS 3A – Long jump: Sara Rattan, Brock
CLASS 6A – 3200: Reed Brown, Carroll. 800: Micah Langat, Keller Central; Cade Bethmann, Martin. 100: Darien Porter, Bowie. 4x200: Mansfield. 200: Braydon Johnson, Bowie; Sean Hooper, Fossil Ridge. 1600: Reed Brown, Carroll. Pole vault: Logan Freeman, Keller Central; Connnor Gregston, Fossil Ridge; Eric Etie, Keller
CLASS 5A – 3200: Asa Rice, Summit; Cesar Limones, Burleson; Graydon Morris, Aledo. 4x100: Trimble Tech, South Hills. 800: Zion Smith, Lake Ridge. 110 hurdles: Devonata Trotter, Eastern Hills; Joseph Squire, Seguin. 100: Jais Smith, Legacy; Keishawn Everly, Trimble Tech. 4x200: Lake Ridge. 400: Gabriel Woodard, Trimble Tech; Bryan Wilson, Dunbar. 1600: Harrsion Tillman, Aledo; Asa Rice, Summit. 4x400: Chisholm Trail. Discus: Jon Saal, Burleson; Caden McDonald, Northwest. High jump: Calvin Clater, South Hills; Alan Rhone, Chisholm Trail; T.J. Graham, Lake Ridge. Long jump: Tylan Wallace, South Hills; Langdon Williams, Lake Ridge; Jalen Seals, Boswell. Pole vault: Ethan Feliciano, Timberview; Ryan Brown, Aledo; Peyton Weissmann, Grapevine. Shot put: Kendal Maples, Joshua. Triple jump: Jamison Wooden, Everman; Tylan Wallace, South Hills; Jalen Seals, Boswell
CLASS 4A – 200: Blake Henderson, Alvarado
CLASS 3A – 800: Jared Steele, Brock. 4x400: Brock. Long jump: Jansen Ivie, Brock