It’s the moment Gilbert High senior James Coons had been waiting for throughout his four-year prep career.

On Wednesday, May 1, during the first day of the Arizona Interscholastic Association’s state track & field meet at Mesa Community College, Coons became the first competitor during the three-day event to receive a gold medal in boys Division II pole vault.

“It’s a joy,” Coons said. “I went over the 14-foot bar with a smile on my face.”

Coons edged out Williams Field junior Roy Vasquez to win the state title. Vasquez’s highest vault was 13-feet, 9 inches. Coons cleared 14-feet, 3 inches in his first attempt.

He knew the state title was in hand.

“I know he can make that but I just kind of knew what was going to happen,” Coons said. “It’s very special. I’ve been working all season to do this.”

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