Northeast Tarrant

Grapevine shows well at state meet, McKinley jumps to gold

A gold and silver medal were brought back to the area by local athletes following the Class 5A and 6A UIL state track and field meets in Austin last week.

Grapevine, Carroll and Colleyville Heritage track and field participants made the most of their showing.

Grapevine’s Zoe McKinley’s pole vault height of 12-6 wasn’t what she wanted, but it was enough to take the 5A state championship at the meet in Austin on Thursday.

Carroll’s Reed Brown captured the silver medal in the 3200m race in the 6A division.

For McKinley, the highly-touted Lady Mustangs’ pole vaulter, it was a little bittersweet.

Both McKinley and Kendahl Shue of Boerne Champion cleared the 12-6 height and went out at 12-9. But McKinley had just two misses to Shue’s three.

“It was scary watching her attempt 12-9,” McKinley said, “but it was still a fun competition.

McKinley, the Hawaii signee, has jumped 13-3 as a personal best, but had cleared 12-8 as her season best this year.

She had hoped to hit 13 feet at the state meet.

“I’m happy with my place, but not happy with my height,” she said. “I thought I could hit 13. But I’m still happy.”

This wasn’t McKinley’s first experience at the state meet. In fact, she’s qualified for the trip to Austin each of her four years at Grapevine.

McKinley’s freshman year yielded a third-place finish in what was then the largest classification at 5A. She finished fifth last year.

One of the many quality vaulters in the area, McKinley said the local club teams and coaching available in the Northeast Tarrant area are partly responsible for the consistent production of area pole vaulters.

In fact, fellow Mustangs pole vaulter Peyton Weissman finished seventh at the state meet.

The weather didn’t play the factor it could have, as the rain halted at the start of the girls 5A pole vault event.

McKinley said her biggest concern was losing her grip on a wet pole. “But it never got that bad,” she said.

McKinley, in preparation for starting her tenure at Hawaii, said she will continue to compete this summer at USATF events during the summer.

The two vaulters weren’t the only Grapevine competitors.

Alex Cleveland was fifth in the 3200m run and Skyler Simon was fourth in the girls 3200m and 1600m events.

“Both ran really great races but were in really tough fields,” said Grapevine coach Andy Jacobs of the 2-mile races.

The boys side was tough enough to yield a new 5A state record by Carter Blunt of Frisco Independence.

Carroll’s Brown and Heritage’s David Strome also ran the 3200m race, but in the 6A category.

Brown came away with the silver medal, running a 9:00.82. That was just behind New Braunfels Canyon’s Alex Rogers, who took the gold in 9:00.09.

Strome finished sixth in the race.

Brown and Strome were the sole representatives at the state meet for their respective schools.