Aubrey Rockoff was in a rut.
The Amherst senior pole vaulter said she struggled during the indoor season and had lost her speed on her run up to the vaulting pit.
Rockoff said the outdoor season allowed her to improve her speed and work on her technique at the top of the pole.
Her hard work culminated with a first place and school record vault of 11 feet, 6 inches to win Division II at the Section VI Outdoor Track and Field Championships Friday at Pioneer High School. It was Rockoff’s third straight section title.
“That was crazy,” Rockoff said. “I wanted that for so long. It took me a whole year. It all came together. I’m really happy about it.”
Rockoff actually won the section title at 10 feet, defeating Salamanca freshman Mushirah Sheppard, who had cleared 9-9.
Rockoff then cleared 10-6, 11 feet on her third attempt, and then nailed 11-6.
“She peaked at the right time,” Amherst coach Jason Cyrek said. “Clearing 11-6 is a highlight for her.”
Eve Giancarlo, the only seventh-grader in the field, placed fifth in a personal best 9 feet. Her previous best vault was 8-6.
Joining Rockoff at the state meet, to be held Friday and Saturday at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, is eighth-grader Morgan Halt, who won the Division II girls high jump in 5-3 and freshman Jamillyah Mallory, who met the state standard in the girls triple jump.
Halt, who is in her first year of track, was excited about winning.
“I just tried to do my best, not be super nervous and stayed focused,” she said.
“We knew she could have a great year,” Cyrek said. “She stepped up in a pressure situation. She’s a competitive person.”
Halt’s personal best in the high jump was 5-4 at the ADPRO Sports Panther Relays at Sweet Home during the regular season. Breaking the school record of 5-5 is a goal for Halt at the state meet.
Halt also took third in the Division II 400-meter hurdles in a personal best 1 minute, 6.86 seconds, and eighth in the 100 hurdles in 17.81 seconds.
Halt said she competed for the majority of the 400 hurdles race without her glasses, which fell off at the beginning of the race.
Mallory took fourth in the triple jump in 35-5½ but qualifies for states due to hitting the state standard of 35-6 at the ADPRO Sports Panther Relays.
Mallory also placed fourth at sectionals in the long jump in 16-2¾.
Senior Alyssa Curtis placed 10th in the Division II 2,000 steeplechase in 8:01.59.
Freshman Sophia Roy finished 16th in the Division 1,500 in 5:20.95.
The 4×400 relay of junior Steph Forbes, seventh-grader Emma Klein, senior Haley Sheehan and sophomore Mackenzie Faller placed sixth in Division II in a season-best time of 4:10.43.
Sheehan took 13th in the Division II 200 in 27.46 and 14th in the 400 in 1:02.57. Forbes placed 13th in the Division II 800 in 2:30.30.
Junior Lawson Costaldo set the school record in the Division II 400 hurdles in 57.07 and placed fourth.
Although his time met the state standard, the second-place finisher, Kellen Martin of Cattaraugus-Little Valley, ran 56.56.
The previous school record was a 57-second hand-held time set in 1981 by Gerry Quinlivan.
There is a .24 second difference between fully automated time and hand-held time.
Junior Cam Carver placed fourth in the Division II 800 in a personal best 1:59.29. It was the first time Carver ran under two minutes.
Junior David Personius finished sixth in the Division II 3,000 steeplechase in 10:50.88.
The 4×400 relay of Costaldo and juniors Tevin Fuller, Carver and Jalen Barren finished 11th in 3:37.08.
Senior Jailyn Rose placed fourth in the Division II long jump in 21 feet, Fuller took eighth in the triple jump in 40-9½, senior Ian Braungart took 10th in the discus in 114-8 and senior Adam Galbraith finished 14th in the pole vault in 7-6.