LAKEWOOD — Andrew Barlow reached new heights Thursday.

That’s not uncommon at a state track meet, but the Monarch junior actually soared to new territory.

After clearing 15 feet, 6 inches to win the Class 5A boys pole vault, a personal best by two inches, Barlow then dug deep, soaring to 16 feet to literally set the bar higher for himself.

“Not even in practice,” Barlow said when asked if he had ever cleared that mark.

Barlow, who took up the pole vault during his eighth grade year, qualified for the state meet for the first time last year. He had the third-best vault entering the meet but finished tied for 10th.

“Last year I was really nervous,” he admitted.

But having competed in the north end of Jeffco Stadium gave him confidence this season.

“Today I had some good warm-ups,” he said, his confidence growing.

He also switched poles, using the longest one with which he has ever competed.

To make the quantum leap from vaulting 13 1/2 feet last year to beating that by 2 1/2 feet this year, Barlow worked hard in the off-season.

“I just jumped a lot,” he said, focusing primarily on his run-up to the pit and on his form. He also hit the weight room. The combination of increased speed and strength made the difference.

So how can he improve on that for his senior season, maybe even challenge the state meet record of 17-3?

“I want to get better form at the top (of my jump),” he said.

Oh, and to also get bigger and faster.

Competition in all five classifications got underway Thursday with finals in four running events and partial classification finals all six field events.

The meet resumes Friday at 8:20 a.m. with the start of finals in six running events as well as more classification finals in the field events.




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