PREP TRACK: Finney sets vault mark at Grand Forks Classic
Grace Finney stands 5 feet, 4 inches in height. The bar sits more than twice her height above the ground. No problem for the Grand Forks Central High School junior. Finney set a meet record Friday, winning the pole vault with a height of 10-9 at ...
Grace Finney stands 5 feet, 4 inches in height. The bar sits more than twice her height above the ground.
No problem for the Grand Forks Central High School junior. Finney set a meet record Friday, winning the pole vault with a height of 10-9 at the Grand Forks Classic at Cushman Field.
“I don’t get intimidated when I look at the height,’’ Finney said. “The height looks different when you’re at the end of the runway, not as high as when you’re up close to the bar.’’
Finney has rapidly ascended the North Dakota Class A pole vaulting ranks. A third-year vaulter, last spring she had a season-best 9-3 vault entering the state meet; she wound up placing fourth by going 9-9. This season she’s surpassed 10 feet in three meets, including a state-best 11-3.
Finney tried for a personal record Friday, but missed on three tries at 11-4.
“It’s such a technical sport,’’ Finney said. “I spent all last summer practicing two or three times a week and I went to a vaulting camp. It takes a long time to master it. I’m starting to figure things out. My height at state wasn’t a surprise. But I didn’t think I’d go this high this season.’’
Not to heights more than twice her height. “It’s crazy when you think about it that way,’’ she said. “It is hard to believe sometimes when you look at the height of the bar that you can go over that.’’
Her goal this season was to clear 11 feet. Now that’s been readjusted. She’s trying different poles, hoping to hit 12 feet.
Grand Forks vaulting coach Brent Lloyd isn’t surprised by the progressions Finney has made.
“Her technique has gotten better,’’ Lloyd said. “You could see her starting to figure it out at the state meet last year. And she has been really consistent.
‘She’s probably a little small for a vaulter. But she runs with a nice stride, she jumps well and she’s very efficient. Put a pole in her hand and she seems to run harder. And Grace loves to pole vault. Every day, she’s the first one at practice and the last one to leave.’’
Davies takes title
Fargo Davies won the team title with 232.5 points. Red River, led by Ashley Rone, was runner-up with 165. Central was fifth with 69.
The seven-team field included all but four of the teams that will compete in the Class A East Region meet next Saturday at Cushman.
“I would guess Davies is the team to beat,’’ Red River coach Tracey Heisler said. “They’re good. But it’s hard to say from this meet because we were missing four of the region teams. And we could run multiple entrants in in relays today, which we can’t do in the regional.’’
Rone won the 100 and 400 and ran a leg on the Roughriders’ winning 4x200 relay. Red River also won the 4x100, while Central also got a first from Alexis Roehl in the 3,200.