CLARE, MI – Kasey Staley’s aspirations are sky high.
And upside down.
There are seemingly no limits to what’s ahead for the Clare junior after winning the state title and setting a state finals record in the pole vault, an accomplishment which earned her MLive Bay City Girls Track Player of the Year.
“It takes a special athlete to get past the fear when you’re up that high,” Clare coach Kyle McKown said. “You can’t have any hesitation if you’re going to be good at it… plus you have to be comfortable with being upside down.
“She has speed, strength, fearlessness… all the components you need.”
Staley transferred to Clare from nearby Farwell at the outset of the school year and quickly did her best to make new friends on the track and field team. She went undefeated in her signature event all season, winning Jack Pine Conference and regional crowns and helping the Pioneers to a team title at the MITCA team state finals.
She took it to new heights at the Division 3 state championships, soaring to a personal-record – and a D3 finals record – 12 feet, 4 inches to win the event.
“She made a pretty big splash her first year in Clare,” McKown said. “It looked like she’d been here her whole life. That’s not easy for a kid, but the other girls did a good job making her feel at home.”
Staley, who qualified for a spot in the New Balance Nationals in North Carolina, also contributed to the team in the high jump and long jump. She also ran with the 800 relay team that set a school record and placed third in the state.
“She puts the team first and works hard every day,” McKown said. “And as high as she’s gone, I expect her to go even higher. She has some big things in her future.”