Three-time reigning pole vault champion Drake McGowin is heading to new territory, but expects the same results.

In fact, she expects better. Montgomery Academy moved down to Class 2A from 3A last season, and McGowin hopes this will be the year the Eagles take home their first state title since 2006.

“I feel really confident as a team right now because we’re all seeded pretty high in each of our events,” McGowin said. “As a team, I think we’re going for first place. (Coach Kevin Weatherill) really focuses on team and that you run for something bigger than yourself. A team title would be great.”

The state track and field meet begins at 8 a.m. today at Memorial Stadium in Selma. The Eagles return all but three competitors from their 2012 third-place team.

With the pressure on, McGowin cleared 9 feet, 9 inches to tie the Class 3A state meet record last year. The Eagles dominated the podium, with Audrey Woika coming in second and Kacky Starke taking third.

“My last jump last year, they were like, ‘OK, this is the record and I hope you get it,’” McGowin said. “If I didn’t get it, I didn’t win either. Under pressure, the last jump is usually when I can pull through. Last year was really special when me and Audrey and Kacky were all on the podium together. It was really fun.”

McGowin said she’s cleared 9-9 in practice, and the Class 2A record is 8-10. But McGowin is no one-trick pony. She’s also competing in the 800 meters, 1,600 relay and 3,200 relay.

“She’s one of our leaders,” Weatherill said. “She’s run everything from the 100, the (400) relay up to the 800 for us. She’s very versatile. I’d say she’s one of our best overall athletes.”

Weatherill said 100 points is the “magic number” to clinch a state title. Last season, Bayside Academy won last year with 116.

The Eagles set the Class 3A state meet record with 10:09.18 in the 3,200 last year and earned the top seed this season.

McGowin is the second seed in the 800, only behind her teammate Taylor Gerard. Gerard won the 800, 1,600 and 3,200 last season.

McGowin has been taking time off her pole vault training in hopes of earning a medal in the 800.

“I haven’t gotten to pole vault in practice this year because I’ve been working on my running,” McGowin said. “I’m really excited about the 800 this year because I’m seeded second by a second. So, it’ll be fun to see what happens there. Hopefully, I’ll go away with three or four medals.”


McGowin Vaulter Magazine
McGowin Vaulter Magazine

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