TACOMA – Coming into the Class 3A state track and field meet, West Seattle senior Chloe Cunliffe already owned the national record in the pole vault. With such a feat already accomplished, it might seem difficult for Cunliffe to stay motivated, but she came into the state finals with the same kind of tenacity that has made her one of the best high-school girls pole vaulters the country has ever seen.
Cunliffe broke her own Class 3A state meet record of 13-feet, 8½-inches set at last year’s state meet, with a mark of 14-feet even on a windy Friday at Mount Tahoma High School. Though, she broke the meet record, she fell short of the national record of 14-8 she set earlier this season.
“I wanted to at least get the national record or higher,” Cunliffe said. “But I’m pretty happy with what I did because the weather wasn’t the best.”
Cunliffe came into the meet prepared to give it a shot just like she does every time out.
“I try my best at every single meet and act like it’s a big meet every single time,” Cunliffe said.
It was the second state title in the event for Cunliffe, who won last year as a junior and placed second in 2017 as a sophomore. Quite the accomplishment for someone who didn’t even start participating in the event until the spring of 2016.
“I’m very surprised (at my success), but I have really good coaching,” Cunliffe said. “So, I guess it makes sense.”
Cunliffe attempted to clear 14-6 on Friday, but missed on all three attempts, though she nearly cleared the bar on her final attempt. Cunliffe’s mark of 14 feet was one foot better than the second-place competitor, sophomore Lianne Kistler of Ballard.
“I definitely wish I had more competition, but (Kistler) is pretty good,” Cunliffe said. “She definitely does drive me because I don’t want to lose to her.
Cunliffe is bound for Washington State University next year, where she will continue her pole vaulting career.
“I definitely want to beat the NCAA record (of 15-6.25), and set my own best prior (to that),” Cunliffe said.
- Tahoma senior Bryana Rogers broke through for her first state title in the Class 4A triple jump. Her mark of 37-8¾ edged Eastlake’s Ellie Talius, who finished second at 37-5¼. “It felt really good,” Rogers said. “I’ve been working on this since sophomore year, and to finally do it, it’s a dream come true.”
- Tahoma junior Alaina Brady won the championship in the 100 hurdles, finishing with a time of 14.23.
- Newport senior Ashleigh Helms took the Class 4A pole vault title, with a vault of 13 feet. Helms broke the meet record set by Inglemoor’s Kim Kramers of 12-7½ set last year.
- North Creek senior Natalie Holmer won the Class 4A javelin title with a throw of 138-11, finishing nearly two feet ahead of Puyallup’s Tanya Simora, who threw 137-0.