COLUMBIA — Two years ago Jesse Pinkley made it to state in pole vault, but injured himself shortly before a storm rolled through. The storm forced his injury to set in as he was unable to continue the event.
Last year despite clearing several heights with ease Pinkley failed to get out of the district meet.
What a difference a year or two makes.
Pinkley redeemed a couple of difficult seasons in pole vault to finish at the top of the podium, Ste. Genevieve earned all-state honors in three other events, and the Dragons finished in a three-way tie for seventh place with 21 points at the Class 3 state track meet at Walton Stadium, the home of the University of Missouri Tigers track team.
"I'm very proud of the kids," said Ste. Genevieve head coach Kenneth Weik. "With what we brought up here and to come away with a seventh-place overall finishm kids PRed [set personal records] on the day and did as good as we could expect I'm real proud of the whole group."
Pinkley, who reset his own pole vault school record multiple times this year, battled St. Michael junior William Hull for the top spot. While both were unsuccessful in their attempts to clear 16 feet, Hull's best finish was 14 feet, 9 inches.
Pinkley, on the other hand, cleared 13, 14 and 15 feet, then beat his record of 15-2 when he cleared 15-3. He cleared the next two heights and clinched the state crown when he made it over 15-9.
"It feels extremely good," Pinkley said. "This is a redemption year. Tast year when I didn't make it through, it just fueled the fire and made me want it even more. I really think it was a good thing because I don't think I would have pushed myself to this level if made it through last year. Everything happened for a reason."
The first all-state medal of the day went to Evan Walker, who made it to the 100-meter hurdle finals when he finished fifth in the preliminaries in 15.26. The finals takes the winners of the two heats and the next six fastest times.
Walker improved on his time and finished in 14.96 for fourth place in the finals.
"In 110s he's just a beast in them," Weik said about Walker. "He's gotten stronger all year and he's a big kid, so he struggles with the 300 hurdles a little bit just because it's such a long race. He's a good technician. He works really hard, one of the hardest workers on the team, and it showed him there's 110s. We're real proud of him."
Brandon Isenman claimed Ste. Genevieve's third all-state medal when he finished eighth in the 800m run in 2:01.76.
"I came in last year in the 4x8 and we got eighth [at state]," Isenman said. "I wanted to do it in the solo event.I started running the 8,this year, and it worked out very well.
"I usually get out fast in the first 100, and then I just coast until I get to about the last 200 meets and I'll just give it all I've got for the last 200. But I slipped off the start and I got caught, but I ended up coming back. I usually just try to recover from it and stick to a good spot, and that's what I did."
Due to the tight packs in the race two runners got tangled up shortly before the finish line, although Isenman wasn't affected by the incident.
"I was right there and I saw it," he said. "I wasn't real close to it, but I was about two lanes away from it when it happened."
The last medal went to the 4x400m relay team of Jacob Boyer, Bryce Trollinger, Isenman and Asa Lemons. When both heats were done and the meet came to an end the Dragons discovered they took fourth in that race with a time of 3:28.92.
See complete coverage in the May 29 edition.
Top 10 Teams
1. Trinity Catholic — 100, 2. Cardinal Ritter — 82, 3. Centralia — 48, 4. Maplewood-Richmond Heights — 27, 5. St. James and Lutheran North (tie) — 24, 7. Ste. Genevieve, Herculaneum and Orchard Farm (tie) — 21, 10. Springfield Catholic, St. Michael of the Arch Angel and Palmyra (tie) — 20
Ste. Gen. All-State
110m Hurdles — 4th: Evan Walker — 14.96
800m Run — 8th: Brandon Isenman — 2:01.76
4x400m Relay — 4th: Jacob Boyer, Bryce Trollinger, Isenman, Asa Lemons — 3:28.92
Pole Vault — 1st: Jesse Pinkley — 15-9
Other State Results
100m Hurdles Prelims — 5th: Walker — 15.26
300m Hurdles — 9th: Pinkley — 41.15, 11th: Walker — 42.85
Pole Vault — Ashton Irwin — No height recorded