Robinson, Linkous nab golds in Times-News Relays pole vault events

Pat Kenney • May 5, 2013 at 7:55 PM

KINGSPORT — In the end it wasn’t cleared jumps that mattered, but misses.

The boys pole vault competition in the 31st Times-News Relays ended in a three-way tie on Thursday at Sullivan North.

Dobyns-Bennett’s Tyler Robinson, Daniel Boone’s Chris Winkle and Unicoi County’s Cameron Miller all cleared the bar at 11-6 but were unsuccessful at 12 feet.

To break the deadlock, officials had to backtrack on previous misses.

Miller had missed on his first attempt at 11-6 so he was relegated to third place and the bronze medal.

Winkle, the defending champion, and Robinson had to go all the way back to 10-6, where Robinson cleared the height on his second attempt while Winkle didn’t get across the bar until his third.

That gave Robinson the gold medal and Winkle silver.

“It was great competition today,’’ Robinson said. “Everyone was vaulting well.’’

Tennessee High’s Brittany Linkous, the top qualifier among the girls, held form and captured gold with her vault of 8-6.

After clearing 8-6, Linkous was the last competitor in the field and moved the bar immediately to 9-2 in an attempt to break the meet record of 9-1 set by D-B’s Brittany Brewster in 2006.

She made three valiant efforts, but came up short each time. Nonetheless, Linkous walked away with a gold medal.

“That was a big stretch to move the bar eight inches,’’ said Linkous, a junior. “But I felt I only had so many attempts left in me so I wanted to go for it right away.’’

Vaulting is a family affair for Linkous.

“When I was about six years old, I saw a picture in my father’s yearbook of him vaulting,’’ Linkous said. “I told him right there and then that I wanted to become a pole vaulter.’’

D-B’s Cammie Browning was second at 8-0 while Science Hill’s Andrea Sees finished third at 7-6.

The boys field was one of the most competitive in recent memory. All 11 competitors had qualified at 10-0 or above.

There were still six vaulters in the competition after the bar reached 10-6. That’s when Robinson, Winkle and Miller separated themselves from the field.

Robinson actually cleared 12-0 on his final attempt but clipped the bar on the way down and it fell into the pit.

“I had the standards set back a little because I hadn’t been inverting well on my earlier jumps,’’ Robinson said. “On that last attempt, I really got off a great vault but came down right on top of the bar. I know I can get over that height now.’’

The remainder of the field events and the running events will take place today at North starting at 4 p.m.

Admission will be $4.

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