ALBANY — Three Jefferson girls won state titles in field-event competition Thursday at the state track and field meet, vaulting the Dragons to the top of the Class AAA standings after Day 1.
With state titles from Ellie Isaacs (shot put), JoJo Smith (high jump) and Anna Moore (pole vault), Jefferson stood in first place with 50 points.
Isaacs won the shot put with a distance of 40-3.5, Smith took first in the high jump with a height of 5-2 and Moore won the pole vault by clearing 11-4.
These are the first state titles for all three athletes.
•In Smith’s high-jump win, she and Rinngold’s Morgan Allen both jumped 5-2, but Smith had at no misses at the height, giving her the title.
In fact, Smith had no misses on the day until the bar went to 5-4.
“I was pretty confident,” said Smith, who took sixth as a freshman last year at the Class AAAA meet. “All my jumps were pretty clean.”
Only a sophomore, Smith has two more years to improve upon her 5-2 mark and potentially win more titles.
“I’m so excited for it because I know I can PR past my goal,” she said.
With that in mind, Smith, a two-sport athlete, said she’ll continue work in the summer in between her volleyball schedule.
•Isaacs won her first throwing title, edging GAC’s Alana Thomas in a close competition in Class AAA. With her throw of 40-03.5, she beat Thomas by an inch.
Isaacs made sure not to look the seeding sheet heading into the competition.
“Going in, I didn’t know where I was seeded,” Isaacs said. “I didn’t want to look at the seeding sheets just because I would probably overthink it, so I just kind of knew what I had to do.”
With the win, Isaacs, a senior, went out on top in her final meet.
“It feels good,” she said. “I got fourth last year, and I kind of wanted to win last year, so I knew this was my last chance, so I just had to get it done.”
•Consider Moore a quick study in the pole vault as she won a state title in only her first year of competition.
Moore, a junior, entered the state meet with a PR of 10-6 but shattered that by clearing 11-4 to win the Class AAA title.
“I was so excited,” Moore said. “I knew that I could do it and was excited when it happened.”
Moore beat out teammate Claire Kulniszewski for the title. Kulniszewski finished second with a height of 10-0.
Moore was confident that she could better her PR given her results in practices.
“I’ve cleared 11 (feet) a lot in practice, so I was hoping to do that here and then just kept going,” Moore said. “It was a really good day.”
Although this is her first year vaulting, she does have a background in gymnastics, which translates well to the pole vault.
“So that has really helped,” Moore said.
Despite being a rookie in the vault, she held high expectations for her first season, which she fulfilled.
“I was hoping to get at least one or two at state,” Moore said. “So, I was happy about that.”
Moore said she looks to compete in meets this summer as she’ll try to defend her Class AAA title next year.
•Other placers on Day 1 for Jefferson were Isaacs in the discus (fifth, 115-05), Jada Pittman in the long jump (fifth, 17-9.5), Caitlin Schroeder in the 1,600 meters (sixth, 5:26.65) and Katherine Law in the 1,600 meters (5:30.36).
NOTES: The boys’ Class AAA 3,200 meters was delayed until Friday morning due to heavy rain Thursday night.
A pair of second-place finishes highlighted the first day for the Tigers. Brandon Martin finished as runner-up in the 3,200 meters with a time of 10:19.02. Martin led for most of the race before Gordon Lee’s Jake Lee kicked down the final stretch and won the race by sixth hundredths of a second. The Tigers’ Demarco Hernandez took fifth in the race with a time of 10:45.90.
In girls’ competition, Lauren Massey cleared nine feet in the pole vault to finish as runner-up in Class A Public. The Tigers’ Skylar Arnston also cleared nine feet but finished behind Massey based on misses.
The Commerce girls stood in sixth place after Day 1 with 14 points.