By Leonard COUTIN
The 97th CIF state track and field finals were held Saturday at Veterans Memorial Stadium on the campus of Buchanan High School in Clovis. CIF officials chose the location as the official site for track and field competitions for the next several years since the facilities are not only state-of-the-art but the location is equally midway for the southern and northern competitors who attend. While the prelims got underway Friday night for most athletes, the 3200m runners were spared the stress of competition until Saturday. Everyone else had to make opening heights, times and places to make it to the big show on Saturday afternoon.
After winning their division championship at the previous week’s Masters Meet, pole-vaulters Gareth and Barrett Weiss from Flintridge Prep were ready to face the opposition at Buchanan. Starting at 14-2, neither made the opening height on their first attempt, but accomplished it on their second try. But in their attempts to make the qualifying height of 14-8, Gareth failed all three of his attempts; Barrett accomplished the height on his second try. Though he did not make it onto the field, Gareth could be found with his coach in the stands cheering on his brother.
The pressure and stress on the athletes who advance to higher-level competition is shown in various ways. Barrett, along with many of the pole-vaulters, had difficulty clearing heights that had been easily conquered in previous weeks. He struggled not only in planting his pole, but falling off to the far side of the pit to land directly on the track with no cushion to his legs and back. Missing the height of 15-3 twice, Barrett cleared on his last jump.
The final height of 15-9 was cleared by Austin Laut of Oak Ridge in his first attempt, winning the contest. Jett Gordon of Marina moved ahead of Weiss with one less miss at the 15-9. Barrett placed third.