CLOVIS — Lemoore’s Ryan White took to the stage at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Friday as the only Kings County athlete to make it to the CIF State Track and Field Championships.
“The experience was like once-in-a-lifetime because this is my first time being here,” White said. “The Valley meet was really difficult, but I ended up beating a lot of people who were better than me, but it’s because I’ve been working hard.”
White made the state meet after setting a PR in the boys pole vault last Saturday at the CIF Central Section Masters Meet. He cleared 13 feet, 3 inches to finish in the top three at the masters.
On Friday, the task for the 30 pole vaulters was a tough one to begin with. The opening bar was set at 14-09 with each pole vaulter getting three attempts to clear and qualify to the next bar at 15-03. The top 12 advanced to the finals today.
Before his attempt, White said he understood the task at hand. Him and the rest of the pole vaulters warmed up for approximately one hour before the event with a bungee cord set at over 15-00.
“During warmups I was trying to practice aiming my feet up and getting as high as I can,” White said. “14-00’s been a big barrier for me for a while, so I just been trying to get over that mental block. I didn’t even try to look at it. I just leaned my head back, looked behind me and kept pushing.”
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White was first up on the event and recorded a no height in all three attempts. The bar was just a bit too high for him, but White was satisfied with his attempts.
“I think my second one felt really good in my opinion,” White said. “I felt like I was getting up there, but I hit it on the way up, so maybe if I [started] a little farther back I could’ve had a better chance. Overall, three jumps felt pretty good.”
Lemoore track and field coach Joseph Bonner called White the team’s MVP and said he won eight consecutive meets coming into the end of the season and scored over 110 points for the team by himself in the 14 track meets this season.
“I thought he came out and he did exactly what he was supposed to come out and do,” Bonner said about White’s performance. “We’ve been working all season to get him to this point. Unfortunately, the starting height was a little bit higher than what he was really able to manage, but we really think he did an awesome job.”
White also added 18 inches to his vault in this season alone. His previous high his sophomore season was 11-09. The junior said he’s shooting for even bigger goals next season.
“I’m looking forward to doing a PR of hopefully around 15 because at my school we have a 15-foot board and I’m trying to get up on there,” White said. “That’s the plan. Plus maybe I can get a scholarship that’s what I’m hoping for.”