Eagle pole vaulter flies over competition at Twilight Classic

rroberts@idahostatesman.comMay 4, 2013 

EAGLE - After the rest of her competitors had already been eliminated, Allison Jeffries waited for the bar to be set at 11 feet before she made her first attempt of the day in the girls pole vault.

The compact, toned blonde was up and over the bar in a flash. Jeffries did the same at 11-6 and 12-0, successfully surpassing her nearest competitor's mark by 2 feet.

"There is just this feeling that you get when the pole shoots you up into the air," Jeffries said. "Butterflies, I really don't know how to describe it."

Not long after her win in the pole vault, Jeffries routed the field in the 100-meter hurdles, crossing the finish line as the rest of the runners were still in various stages of clearing their final hurdles.

Jeffries wrapped up the Gary Gorrell Twilight Classic on Friday night with four wins, showcasing exactly why she ranks No. 1 in the state in three events heading into next week's 5A District Three meet.

"She works hard. She's the last person here. She wants to win, wants to compete," Eagle pole vault coach Josh Kern said. "She's easy to coach and absorbs everything."

Jeffries is the two-time defending state champion in the pole vault and owns the state's top mark in that event, as well as the 100 hurdles (14.26). She also runs the opening leg of Eagle's 4x100 relay, which won state last season in a record 48.22 seconds.

But it is Jeffries' fearlessness in the pole vault that truly makes her a standout.

Three weeks ago at the Oregon Relays in Eugene, Jeffries cleared a personal best 12-5.61. Just this week, she switched to a longer pole as she prepares to make a final push for the state meet record of 12-7.

"She has this natural ability to run really well and be aggressive at takeoff. A lot of the young vaulters just don't have that," said former Olympic gold medalist pole vaulter Stacy Dragila, who coaches the event at Rocky Mountain. "… Alli's that girl that's like, 'I see that takeoff and I want to attack it.' She puts all that energy from the runway into the pole, and she gets so much out of it. That's fun to see because now as we are getting closer to districts and state, she's really dialing things in, and it is fun to see her excel."

Natural athleticism helped Jeffries land a scholarship to compete for the Boise State track and field team in the fall. Jeffries plans to try her hand at the heptathlon for the Broncos.

Learning to master a few more events shouldn't be too hard for Jeffries. She learned to pole vault the day before her first meet - which she won - and her work ethic is hard to match.

"I work out constantly. I come on Sundays just to get extra time," Jeffries said. "I just try to get in as much practice as I can."

TWILIGHT HIGHLIGHTS

• Rocky Mountain senior throwers Eli McCullough and Adam Lewis each improved upon their state-leading marks. McCullough went 60 feet, 7 inches to win the shot put, and Lewis threw 180-5 in the discus.

• Meridian junior Bryson Stout swept the boys 100 and 200 meters, racing to a state-best time of 21.84 seconds in the 200.

• Josie Lawrence, a senior at Mountain View, went a state-best 38-11.5 in the girls triple jump, while Centennial's Tanner Johnson moved up from No. 2 in the state to No. 1 with his leap of 22-9 in the boys long jump.

• Eagle senior Brittany Rawlins won the girls 100 in a blazing 11.97, then added another top mark in the 200 with her time of 25.21.

• Eagle's Erin Wheless, Kylee Coffin, Kinsey Keene and Hailey Payne clocked the fastest time in the girls 4x200 this season, winning in 1:45.24.

• In the final event of the day, the Eagle boys and girls established the fastest times of the season in the 4x400 relay. Keene, Payne and Brittany and Brooke Rawlins won the girls event in 4:01.15. Edmund Ellis, Clayton Watts, Gabe Harm and James Heckendorn won the boys race in 3:20.43.

Rachel Roberts: 377-6422, Twitter: @IDS_VarsityX

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