KENTWOOD — The conditions were anything but ideal to pole vault. But three Washtenaw County athletes were able to fight through and make the best of it.
Matt Gade | Mlive Media Group
A trio of area vaulters finished top eight and earned all-state honors at Saturday’s Division 1 track and field state finals at East Kentwood High School.
Tyler Leach of Pioneer vaulted 14 feet, 10 inches to finish in second, Noah Gary of Dexter finished in fourth at 14-7 and Kaj Althaus of Saline tied for eighth at 13-4.
Leach’s vault equaled that of state champion Dylan Kole of Grand Rapids Kenowa Hills, but he finished second because it took him more attempts.
But 14-10 on a blustery day and second place — one spot better than last year — still marked a good day for the Pioneer senior.
“Taking the conditions into effect, it was really good,” Leach said.
Gary was able to clear 15-7 at regionals two weeks ago, but couldn’t clear the 14-10 height that the top three competitors did Saturday.
But having two of the state’s best pole vaulters in the SEC helped both Leach and Gary finish in the top four in the state finals.
“Him pushing me as far as I can go and pushing him as far as he can go has definitely helped us a lot improving,” Leach said.
Aside from pole vaulters, five other area athletes earned all-state honors in the boys meet, and Saline’s 3,200-meter relay team came away with the area’s lone state title.
Field events marked the strongest area for local athletes. Willie Elam of Skyline finished fourth in the shot put, and Lincoln’s Tyree Waller was the fifth-best long jumper.
Pioneer’s Tre Brown and Saline’s Andrew Kitto were the top finishers on the track, with Brown finishing fifth in the 300-meter hurdles and Kitto finishing the same in the 800.