OMAHA — His day was nearly over before it really began for Waverly senior Isaiah Brown on Friday, but he ended up as the state champion in the Class B boys pole vault.
Brown had a winning vault of 15 feet, which is the second-best vault in the state this season.
Brown was one of the favorites after coming to state with a Class B leading mark of 14-7. He entered the competition with the bar at 13-6, but needed his third and final attempt to advance.
Brown said 13-6 had been an easy height for him this season, but it sure wasn’t Friday.
“I don’t know if it was emotions or what, but I just wasn’t bringing the speed,” Brown said. “I wasn’t bringing the ‘A’ game at the beginning. I needed my third attempt to get 13-6 and 14-0.”
Brown was frustrated with how he began the day.
“I’ve been over 13-6 so many times this year I would have been devastated my senior year if I no-heighted. It would have been bad,” Brown said.
He got better as the competition went on, and cleared the winning height of 15-0 on his second attempt. After doing so, he jumped right off the mat, and soon was getting hugs from a few vaulters who had just been knocked out of the competition.
“I was really happy to increase my (personal record) and stretch that lead between first and second (on the all-time chart) at our school,” Brown said. “I’m just really proud of everything my coaches have done for me, and all the support. I’ve had people from schools that I don’t even know, and they’re like, ‘It’s fun to watch you.’ It’s really cool that I’ve kind of impacted more than just the community around me; I’ve kind of branched out a little bit.”
Brown was crying while talking about winning state, stopping to compose himself a few times. He said one of the reasons for that emotion was his family history with the event at Waverly.
His uncle, Todd, who was also a state champion, is now No. 2 on the school’s all-time chart. Brown’s dad, Nathan, is fourth.
“It’s really cool just seeing us three in the top five,” Isaiah Brown said.
After clearing 15-0, Brown had the bar raised to 15-4½, but he missed all three attempts.
When it was over, though, it was all happy tears.
“My expectation was just to get better than I did last year,” Brown said. “I got sixth last year, and I just wanted to get better, and No. 1 just tops it all.”
There were no boys state-meet records set Friday. With cool conditions, the two marks for the all-time charts came in the distance events.
Omaha Burke’s 3,200-meter relay moved into the all-time chart with a 7:51.45 clocking, good for seventh all-time.
In the 3,200, Omaha Westside junior Milo Greder moved into fifth with a time of 9:10.29.
In qualifying, Lincoln High freshman Darius Luff had the top qualifying time in the 110 high hurdles (:14.91).