JACKSONVILLE — As gusts of roughly 20 mph sent pellets of rain blowing horizontally across Hodges Stadium, St. Petersburg pole vaulter Cayman Ellis wondered if the atonement for which he had spent a year toiling would arrive.

“All the time we were waiting, I thought they were going to call (the event),” said Ellis, who fidgeted through two weather delays at Saturday’s Class 4A state meet.

When the event was green-lighted, Ellis sat shivering beneath an umbrella until the bar was raised to 13 feet, the height he failed to clear in three tries last season. Then, cold segued into gold.

Battling the wind and a slick runway, Ellis ultimately cleared 14 feet, 6 inches to tie Olympia senior Clayton Washburn for first place, earning Pinellas County’s lone gold medal.

“I wanted to keep jumping,” said Ellis, who will walk on at Florida State. “But they deemed it unsafe, so …”

Ellis’ redemption in wretched conditions highlighted a waterlogged meet condensed due to a sprawling cell of light rain and winds that also battered Friday’s 3A meet.

With conditions at their worst early Saturday afternoon, the Florida High School Athletic Association Games Committee Jury of

Appeals opted for timed running finals, eliminating prelims. Athletes in races and field events essentially received no break.

“Cold. Really cold,” Ellis said of the conditions. “Mental game. But you’ve just got to do what you’ve been doing and not let the weather affect you, which I did.”

While Ellis battled chills and wetness, Paul “Megadeth” McKenna navigated wind.

From: http://www.tampabay.com/hometeam/blog/4a-track-st-petersburg-vaulter-best-less-ideal-con/17336/

Ellis Vaulter Magazine
Ellis Vaulter Magazine

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