Bishop Carroll’s Nick Meyer is a two-time City League pole vault champion, the reigning state runner-up and now a Junior Olympics runner-up in the Intermediate Boys Pole Vault.
He set a personal best by three inches on Saturday with a leap of 14-feet-nine-inches. Meyer felt like a height above 15 feet was within his grasp, but just ran out of gas on the hot Kansas day.
“I think I might have taken one too many warm-ups,” Meyer said. “A vaulter only has so many jumps in him before he gets tired and things start going wrong.”
The feat was even more difficult for Meyer because his coach had to remain in the stands as per USATF rules. At virtually every other meet, including state, the coaches are on the field with the athletes.
Meyer saw this as a chance to develop some independence in the vault.
“I think it is just part of growing up. You have to be able to make decisions on your own like where to put the standards and what pole to use,” Meyer said.
The Kingman native did not do it all alone. His coach was providing advice from his seat in the stands, but the distance made things more difficult.
“It is kind of hard because I have to keep running back so we can talk because we’re not supposed to talk by the pit,” Meyer said. “He helped me a lot up there, but it is just easier when he is down here because he can talk to me and tell me what to do.”
Meyer cleared the same height as the winner Dylan Duvid, but finished second on a tiebreak.
Prairie View native Jayce Phelps also took home All-American honors with an eighth-place finish with a height of 13-3.5.
Maize’s Swenson excels in javelin
Maize freshman to-be Keiryn Swenson is not a seasoned javelin thrower by any means, but after her eighth place All-American finish at the Junior Olympics on Saturday it was hard to tell that she was only in her fourth meet.
Swenson has only thrown the javelin in competition 19 times in her young career, so an eighth-place finish at a national meet is a good starting point but she was not completely satisfied on Saturday.
“I’m feeling pretty happy about it right now. I could have done better, but I still placed,” Swenson said.
Swenson discovered her ability in the javelin thanks to her dad who saw she had potential in the event.
“I played softball and my dad said that he saw a javelin thrower in me,” Swenson said. “I started throwing and it turned out I did really well.”
Swenson was one of the younger competitors in the Intermediate Girls Javelin throw and took the opportunity of the meet to learn from the older and more experienced competitors.
“They attack it better and I need to do that. They keep their heads high, which I get in my head that I can’t do (that) well,” Swenson said.
Swenson intends to continue to pursue throwing the javelin for the Maize track team next season. Her throw of 117-05 on Saturday would have been good enough for seventh at the Class 6A State Meet this past spring.
Bradwell and Thompson garner All-American honors
Wichita native Oliver Bradwell was the top seed in the 200-meter dash coming into the Junior Olympics. Through the first half of the final he looked every bit the favorite, but in the final part of the homestretch, Elijah Hall-Thompson ran Bradwell down to take the win.
“I got out great (and) had a strong 150, but just couldn’t hold it,” Bradwell said. “He (Hall-Thompson) ran a good race and had a good finish.”
Bradwell settled for second place with a time of 20.87 to Hall-Thompson’s 20.76. He now has his eye on defending his Junior Olympics 100-meter dash national title tomorrow.
“That (100-meter dash) is something I won last year, so I’m looking to defend that title and come out with the gold,” Bradwell said.
Deron Thompson of Wichita Northwest met his 200-meter dash final in the Intermediate Boys with similar disappointment. He garnered All-American honors with a fifth-place finish in a time of 21.83, but he was hoping for more.
“I thought I could have done better,” Thompson said. “I just couldn’t make up the stagger, lactic acid got in my legs and I couldn’t lift.”
Thompson will also have one more shot at a title in the Intermediate Boys 100-meter dash final tomorrow.
Both Bradwell and Thompson will compete in their finals around 10 a.m.