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Calhoun junior looks to vault higher at regionals

By MIKE FORMAN
April 20, 2013 at 11:03 p.m.
Updated April 20, 2013 at 11:21 p.m.

The East girls won the team title at the 29/30-4A area meet Saturday. With the trophy is, bottom row, from left: Dazja Upton, Jayla Johnson, Ramaya Dean. Top row, from left: Mekel Tensley, Sonya Acuna, Destinee Kueker, Kasey Heitzmann, Kamri Hardeman.

FLORESVILLE - Calhoun's Connor Holladay has rarely been pushed in the pole vault this season.

But he got a taste of competition at the Districts 29/30-4A area meet from Calallen's Andrew McCurley.

Both vaulters cleared 14 feet on a sunny Saturday afternoon, but Holladay captured the gold medal by virtue of clearing the bar on his first attempt.

"I wanted him (McCurley) to make the 14 bar, so Connor could have someone at 14-6 to keep going," said Calhoun coach Kristina Windham. "I liked that."

McCurley got over the bar on his third and final attempt, and both vaulters will try to go higher at next week's Region IV-4A meet at Heroes Stadium in San Antonio.

"I got first, and I'm going to regional," Holladay said. "I was hoping for a PR today or at least to get my PR, but sometimes you don't get it. We always have next week."

Holladay has a personal best of 14-6 this season, and Windham believes he could go a foot higher once he is able to get comfortable with a bigger pole.

"We need to work on those bigger poles and get him used to them and get his confidence built up in those," she said. "He shouldn't have any problems."

Windham should know. She pole vaulted at Calhoun and won a gold medal in the first girls competition at the state meet in 2002.

"He's very coachable," she said. "He takes what I give him and he's able to produce it in his vaults. When he changes to that bigger pole, it's like he over thinks everything so he changes his whole run and everything. He's not able to get on it. "

Holladay admits it's a challenge moving to a bigger pole, which he did on his first two attempts at 14-6.

But the junior has been vaulting since middle school and loves the challenge the sport presents.

"I like the difficulty of it," he said. "Everybody comes up to me and says, 'Oh wow. It's so amazing that you can do this,' and I really get a kick out of that."

Holladay also understands the importance of doing everything mechanically correct as the bar goes higher.

"The little things are always what count in pole vaulting and getting the right mindset for it," he said. "There's a plant and swinging up and getting upside down. There's like different stages of pole vaulting and you can really tell when you go up a height like this. The guy (McCurley) who was here today, he PRed five times because he got his form down and went up to the next level and that's what I've got to do."

Holladay will go back to work as he prepares for the regional meet, looking for a personal best and a trip to the state meet.

"He's got the perseverance, he has the determination and he's got that drive behind him," Windham said. "I'd like him to go 15 if not 15-6."



Lady Titans win team title

Victoria East went into the 1,600-meter relay needing to defeat Gregory-Portland for the team championship.

The Lady Titans finished second and G-P was fourth and East brought home the team trophy with 120 points to 110 for the Lady Cats.

East's Kasey Heitzmann won the pole vault and the 100-meter hurdles and qualified for the regional meet in five events.

East's Kamri Hardeman won the long jump and triple jump, and Sonya Acuna won the 300-meter hurdles.

Calhoun's Melina Ortiz won the 100, 200 and ran a leg on the Sandies' 400-meter relay team that finished first. She also finished second in the triple jump.

The Calhoun boys had 81 points and finished second to Medina Valley, which had 83, in the team standings.

Victoria West's Todd Mickey won the boys 3,200- and 1,600-meter runs.

The top four finishers qualify for the regional meet.

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