Almeria, Wade win Times-News pole vault

Pat Kenney • May 5, 2013 at 7:59 PM

KINGSPORT — Well, that didn’t take long.The opening event of the 35th

Times-News Relays produced a meet record.On Thursday, at Sullivan North,

Dobyns-Bennett junior Jamie Almeria flew over the crossbar at a height of 9-6 to

set a meet record in the girls pole vault competition.The previous

record was 9-2 set by Tennessee High’s Brittany Linkous in 2010.Devon

Wade from University School successfully defended his Times-News boys pole vault

title with a leap of 13-0. He finished the competition tied with Unicoi’s Kyle

Green, who also cleared 13-0, but Wade won on fewer misses.Almeria

attacked the bar from her opening vault and seemed unfazed by the strong head

wind at the pit. She easily cleared 9-0 and was joined at that height by Boone’s

Abby Howe and Science Hill’s Savannah Hirst.All three vaulters missed

their first two attempts at 9-6.On Almeria’s third attempt, she cleared

the bar.Howe and Hirst failed to clear on their third attempts and

Almeria was the only competitor left in the competition and had the gold medal

clinched.She attempted to clear 10-0, but could not negotiate a height

12 inches over her previous best.“There was so much adrenaline running

through me,” said Almeria. “I was really nervous. But I know I can go higher. I

just have to work harder on my technique and get that invert right."Howe

finished second with Hirst third.Wade and Green did not enter the

competition until the bar reached 12 feet. Wade cleared the bar on his first

attempt and Green missed.That proved to be the difference at the end of

the competition.They both easily cleared the bar up to 13-0 but neither

could muster a vault over 13-6. The final result went back to

misses.“Kyle and I are like brothers competing against each other,” said

Wade, a senior who will vault at Lipscomb University next yea. “We love going

against each other, but we both hate losing to the other.”Science Hill’s

Jacob Laughlin was third at 11-6.“I wasn’t really that confident today,”

said Wade. “I completely bailed on my second attempt at 13-6 and just couldn’t

get comfortable.“But it’s great to win the Times-News for a second

straight time.”

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