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Jacobs 'blows through' to state record

ST. PAUL – It wasn't a medal that Andy Jacobs was after.

ST. PAUL – It wasn't a medal that Andy Jacobs was after.

The Rochester Century junior has won those plenty, including grabbing state track and field gold as a freshman and sophomore in the pole vault.

What she was chasing was a height. She went 13 feet two years ago in setting a state Class AA meet record that freshman season.

But she hadn't gone 13 feet since. And it was bugging her.

"It bugged me that I hadn't gotten a (personal record) this year," said Jacobs, whose high had been 12-9. "I thought I was a better vaulter than what I'd been showing."

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The affable Jacobs isn't feeling bugged anymore.

Saturday afternoon at Hamline University, in front of a thrilled and vocal crowd, Jacobs got complete satisfaction. She did it by winning the state pole vault for the third straight year, but even more importantly to her, by bettering 13 feet.

On her second try at it, after barely making the bar wobble and then fall down on her first attempt, Jacobs reset her own state meet record. She sailed an exhilarating 13-1. The bar wobbled this time, too, but it hung in there and stayed up.

Just as Jacobs has all season.

"When I was close like that (on the first try), I thought I was going to get it," Jacobs said. "Then when I made it on the second try, and I landed, I had a huge smile on my face. It was worth all the work I'd put into it."

No doubt, Jacobs had invested plenty in this. She spent the summer and winter working on her vaulting craft, particularly trying to improve her explosion and technique down the runway.

Turned out that she'd become so explosive that there would be all kinds of altering to do on Saturday. Jacobs went through eight different poles during Saturday's competition, switching incrementally to bigger and bigger ones the higher the bar was set.

"I was blowing through (the spot where she was trying to land her pole before going airborne),"Jacobs said. "I felt a lot faster down the runway today. Some of that was because I was really fresh, and some of it came down to adrenaline from the state meet."

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When Century pole vault coach Ray Ashworth saw what was happening in the early going with those "blow throughs," he knew Jacobs had to keep going to heavier poles in order to land the pole in the right place. He also knew that this could be a special day. It meant that Jacobs had ample energy and explosion, giving her a great shot at getting past 13 feet.

Ashworth thought it would end up this way. In all the other meets Jacobs competed in this season, pole vault wasn't nearly her only event. But at state on Saturday, she was a one-trick pony. And it showed.

"It was a day where we could just let our horse run," Ashworth said. "On a fresh day for her, with nice weather, we knew she could better 13 feet. It was just going to come down to her technique."

Jacob's technique was fine. The biggest trouble was finding a pole that was big enough. After going through seven of Ashworth's, she finally turned to one owned by an Eden Prairie competitor.

It was golden. Thirteen feet, 1 inch of golden.

Related Topics: TRACK AND FIELD
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