MURFREESBORO – The public address announcer at Middle Tennessee’s Dean. A Hayes Stadium was starting to sound a bit frustrated.
“MARY CARSON PITTS,” his voice boomed. “PLEASE REPORT TO THE MEDALS STAND.”
It was the second or third time the announcer had called for Pitts. The Hutchison senior had a good excuse for being late, though, having had to compete in two events simultaneously during Thursday’s TSSAA girls track and field state meet.
At the same time Pitts was earning her second straight Division 2 pole vault state title — which she did with a state-meet record vault of 12 feet, three inches — the Tulane signee was also competing in the D2 high jump.
“I wasn’t really thinking about high jump. I was like, ‘Oh, I’ll do it when I’m done with (pole vault),’ and I look over and (the high jump event) was starting and I was like, ‘Oh, this is not good,’ ” Pitts said, laughing.
They were less than ideal circumstances. For instance, Pitts, who came into Thursday’s meet with the top qualifying marks in both events, wasn’t able to take her first attempt at five feet on the high jump because it was her turn on the pole vault.
That left her with just two attempts to clear the mark while each of her competitors had three. And though she missed on both attempts, finishing fifth in the event with a jump of 4 feet, 10 inches, Pitts easily eclipsed the previous girls pole vault state-meet record of 12-2 set last year by Knoxville Hardin Valley’s Ashley Kessler.
The only thing left to break after that was her own overall state record of 12-7, which she cleared in April at the Houston Invitational. But she narrowly missed clearing 12-8 on her third attempt Thursday.
“I was looking down and I was like, ‘Oh, I’m over it!’ and then (the bar) was falling down with me,” Pitts said. “But I’m really happy I got to break the state record my senior year.”
Pitts’ record-breaking effort was the highlight among Memphis-area competitors at Thursday’s girls meet, but it wasn’t the only gold-medal performance.