St. PAUL—When Moorhead junior Kyle Johnson was in middle school and he went to watch his brother compete in pole vault at the state meet, he never imagined he would ever be on that stage.

He followed in his brother’s footsteps and started pole vaulting in sixth grade, but it was just a hobby. It wasn’t supposed to amount to anything.

“I was just in it for fun when I was younger,” Johnson said. “I never thought I’d get here. I never imagined it would be me.”

The “here” Johnson was referring to was the Class 2A state track meet at Hamline University. The “it” was finishing third in the state in pole vault. He was there Friday and he did it.

Johnson had one last chance to clear 14 feet, 3 inches. His personal best was 14 feet. It was on a stage he’d never been at a height he never reached.

“I said, ‘You have this. You know what to do. Just go and do it,'” Moorhead pole vault coach Adam Stein said.

That’s exactly what Johnson did. He cleared 14-3 to stay alive with the final four vaulters.

“I was a little shocked,” Johnson said. “I kind of hit the bar and it was wobbling, but once I cleared it, I ran off to make sure it didn’t fall before I got off the pit. I just wanted to see what i could do. Just give it my all and see what happens and hope that I’d get it. I was a little nervous I would say, but I just kind of went through it.”

He fell inches short at 14-6 on his next vault, but Johnson already has his eyes set on higher goals for next season.

“I hope it means I could do more next year,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, I can get 15. That’d be nice. Just get better and maybe get first or second next year. That’d be awesome.”

To win the state title Friday would have been asking a lot for one’s first trip to state. Eden Prairie’s Benjamin Ose broke the meet record, clearing 15-8.

Moorhead’s Connor Salisbury finished tied for sixth in the pole vault, clearing 13-3. In three seasons in charge of the pole vaulters, Stein has seen four Spud pole vaulters qualify for state. In the last two state trips, the Spuds have taken third, fourth and sixth in the pole vault.

“It’s probably one of the best days we could ask for here,” Stein said. “You see guys who can’t even get their (personal record) here, so you never know what to expect. To have a finish like this it’s always a good day.”

Johnson qualifies for finals

Moorhead’s Mallori Johnson qualified for today’s final in the 300-meter hurdles. Johnson finished eighth in the preliminaries with a run of 44.68 seconds.

Class 2A boys

Team scores: 1, Eden Prairie 24. 2, Wayzata 18. 3, Hopkins 17. 4, Blaine 16. 5, Woodbury 13. 6, Apple Valley 12. 7, Moorhead 11. 8, Waconia 10. 9t, Elk River 8. 9t, Sartell-St. Stephen 8. 9t, North Branch 8. 9t, Stillwater Area 8. 13t, Lakeville North 6. 13t, Park Center 6. 15t, North 5. 15t, Mahtomedi 5. 17t, Becker 4. 17t, Irondale 4. 17t, St. Michael-Albertville 4. 20t, Mankato East 3. 20t, Mankato West 3. 20t, Anoka 3. 23t, Totino-Grace 2. 23t, Red Wing 2. 25t, Lakeville South 1. 25t, Shakopee 1. 25t, Hutchinson 1. 25t, Faribault 1. 25t, Alexandria 1.

Individual area finishers

3,200: 1, Klecker, Hopkins, 8:57.76.

Discus: 1, Manders, Eastview, 153-03.

Pole vault: 1, Ose, Eden Prairie, 15-08. 3, Johnson, Moorhead, 14-03. 6t, Salisbury, Moorhead, 13-03.

Triple jump: 1, Houston, Eden Prairie, 47-8¼.

Class 2A girls

Team scores:1, St. Michael-Albertville 18. 2, Rochester John Marshall 13. 3t, Champlin Park 12. 3t, Eden Prairie 12. 3t, Alexandria 12. 7t, Robbinsdale Armstrong 10. 7t, Prior Lake 10. 7t, Blake School 10. 10, Roseville Area 9. 11, Lakeville South 8.5. 12t, Apple Valley 8. 12t, St. Francis 8. 14t, St. Cloud Tech 6. 14t, Monticello 6. 14t, Forest Lake 6. 17t, Anoka 5. 17t, Minnetonka 5. 19t, Centennial 4. 19t, Blaine 4. 19t, Chanhassen 4. 19t, White Bear Lake Area 4. 23t, Hutchinson 3. 23t, Eagan 3. 23t, Totino-Grace 3. 26t, Cambridge-Isanti 2. 26t, Delano 2. 26t, Edina 2. 26t, Wazyata 2. 30t, East Ridge 1. 30t, Bemidji 1. 30t, Brainerd 1. 33 Becker 0.5.

Individual area finishers

3,200: 1, Hasz, Alexandria, 10:26.40.

High jump: 1, Ramacher, Eden Prairie, 5-07.

Long jump: 1, Gerads, Champlin Park, 18-10¾. 14, Berg, Detroit Lakes, 17.

Shot put: 1, McKeag, Apple Valley, 58-08½.



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