Dillon McCarthy found peace amidst the organized chaos of nationals in the pit beside his.
Children screamed, parents too, horns sounded, starting guns exploded and whistles blew but beside him McCarthy could sense a comforting camaraderie. Pole vaulting can be such a lonely foray, uncorking toward the sky alone over and again with little more than a pole to propel.
But on this day, the biggest meet of the season, McCarthy could look to his right and find teammate Jonathon Togami next to him. Off the two went, almost in unison, leaping higher with each vault, matching red jerseys flailing through the wind. Every approach began with a nod of good luck between the pair and each flight was finished with a congratulatory high five. The teammates dug in next to each other time and again, floating taller with each bounce until both landed among the nation’s elite.