The bar had made it to 13 feet, and the fans overflowing the stands at Hamline University had their attention fixated on the pole vault pit.
Rochester Century ninth-grader Andrianna Jacobs had a chance to make history by eclipsing the Class AA Minnesota girls state track and field record held by 2005 Robbinsdale Armstrong graduate Alicia Rue.
The meet record of 12 feet, nine inches had stood since the spring of Rue’s senior year, or about the time current Armstrong senior Emily Delaney was just getting out of elementary school.
And like everyone in attendance June 8, Delaney’s attention was on Jacobs’ attempt at the mark.
“That was incredible to watch,” Delaney said. “I kind of wanted her to break it, just to say I saw it.”
The story will be Delaney’s to tell. Jacobs made the height, cruising to a near two-foot victory in an event that Delaney was also a competitor in.
Delaney would finish 13th overall, clearing 10-feet before eventually missing on her try at the 10-foot, 5-inch mark she made in qualifying for her first state meet appearance.
Therefore, as Jacobs chased history, and seven others contended for a spot on the medal podium, Delaney was content to relish an environment that suddenly has her giving second thoughts to possibly vaulting when she arrives at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in the fall.
“Getting to state makes me want to do it even more in college, so I’ll probably continue with it,” said Delaney, who was the Northwest Suburban Conference champion in the event late last month. “This whole season definitely rejuvenated me. I went a foot and a half higher than what I’ve ever gone, and made it to state. I can’t ask for anything else.”
Well, other than maybe a few more teammates by her side.
As it was, Armstrong had just three individuals participating in the this year’s state track and field meet.
Delaney was one, as was fell senior Jesse Kuusisto, who competed in the boys discus throw.
Kuusisto ended up 13th in the event with a throw of 139 feet, 9 inches, which was well below his seed mark of 153-09 – a theme many of his competitors shared.
Of the nine throwers in the final flight, Kuusisto was one of four not to medal.
“It was a tough day,” said one meet official. “Lots of fouls. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a finish like that.”
Armstrong sophomore Kelsey Sather would have taken it.
She didn’t get out of the preliminaries in girls 800-meter run, finishing 14th overall in 2 minutes, 15.77 seconds.
“She will have her chance again,” said Armstrong girls track and field coach Derek Fisher. “That was good of an 800 field as I remember seeing, so Kelsey has nothing to be disappointed about. She’ll be back.”