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No practice, no problem for Crookston pole vaulter

CROOKSTON—If practice makes perfect, lack of practice hasn't been a drawback for Lukas Meier.

The Crookston High School junior practices the pole vault only once, occasionally twice, a week during the track season. Yet Meier won the Section 8A vault competition with a personal-record performance of 12 feet, 5 inches last Saturday.

That has Meier in a four-way tie for the No. 7 seed heading into the Class A state meet, to be held Friday and Saturday in St. Paul.

"We're so thin in numbers,'' Crookston boys track coach Wayne Folkers said. "And Lukas is one of our better athletes. So we run him to death on the track. We need him in relays, he long jumps and he runs the 100 and 200.''

All those events take practice time. And that limits Meier's time at the pole vault.

Last week, the junior spent one day at practice working on the vault. He responded by breaking his personal record by five inches in claiming the section title. That also was 11 inches higher than he'd cleared this season.

"We probably don't practice more than once a week usually,'' Folkers said. "Most pole vaulters are doing it daily. When Lukas does practice it, I have to kick him out at the end of practice. He wants to keep going.''

Meier doesn't wonder what his heights would be were he able to spend more time working on the vault. Instead, he sees benefits to the limited practice time.

"At the beginning of the season, I had to work on (vaulting) more, working on my technique,'' he said. "But, later in the season, I've been able to keep my legs fresh (for vaulting). The running, being in shape for that, is beneficial.''

Meier said he wasn't surprised that he surpassed his previous season best by almost a foot.

"I felt comfortable that day,'' said Meier, who also was a fifth-place finisher at the state wrestling tournament this season. "I bounced off the mat when I cleared it and was smiling. I was excited.''

Folkers said weather conditions at the state meet are expected to be good for vaulters, contrary to the cool, windy conditions during the section meet.

"Kids were laughing, asking how he could do so well in those conditions. And he likes competing in hot weather,'' Folkers said.

"He's very competitive. Track, wrestling, football—it doesn't matter. He's even real competitive in those goofy video games kids play.''

Five to watch

In addition to Lukas Meier, here are five other area athletes to watch at this weekend's Minnesota state high school track meet in St. Paul.

• Ethan Dorman, Clearbrook-Gonvick: The junior is part of a longjam in the high jump. He's in a seven-way tie for the No. 7 seed, having cleared 6-1 at the 8A meet.

• Aleece Durbin, Crookston: The senior is the No. 4 seed in the triple jump. Durbin is no stranger to success at state, having placed eighth in the 300 hurdles last season.

• Katherine Geist, Crookston: The sophomore is the No. 6 seed in the 3,200.

• Kelby Goulet, Warroad: The senior is seeded third in the 400. Goulet placed sixth at state in the race each of the past two seasons.

• Abi McGlynn, West Marshall: The junior is the No. 8 seed in the triple jump. She placed ninth in the event at state last season.