Mayo's Wiltrout proves quick study in pole vault

LAKEVILLE, Minn. — Mayo's Kayla Wiltrout isn't particular concerned about where she's been. Instead, it's where she's going — and not going — that weighed on her mind this weekend.

The junior pole vaulter cleared 10 feet, 7 inches at Saturday's Section 1AA track meet to set a new personal best and qualify for the state meet. It also broke the school record by an inch, which was set in 2000 by Kate Farnham. She needed all three attempts at that height to reach the automatic qualifying height.

Her motivation was a little odd, to say the least.

"How much do you not want to play (clarinet) at graduation?" Wiltrout says she asked herself.

Thanks to the clutch jump, her instrument will now stay packed away for Friday's graduation ceremony as she plans to attend both days of the two-day state meet at Hamline University. It will mark the end of a wild, unexpected ride for the novice vaulter.


Wiltrout didn't officially become a pole vaulter until three weeks into the season. She failed to clear the opening height — 8 feet — in either of her first two meets and was on the verge of quitting before she really even got started.


And then she won her third competition. It's been a two-steps-forward, one-step-back type of experience since then, but she enjoyed her greatest success in Saturday's wet, chilly conditions.

Wiltrout's technique remains raw — opposing coaches were mumbling suggestions even as she qualified for state while many of the favorites faltered — but she's more concerned about results than style points at this point in her career.

"I don't really have the technique down perfectly," she said. "Usually I get to a meet and then I don't care about technique. I just want to make it over the bar."

Century senior Jessica Christy also qualified in the event at 10-7.

Wiltrout was one of four Spartan girls who qualified for state, leading them to a third-place finish with 86 points. Century was fifth (54), Red Wing was seventh (39), John Marshall was 13th (19) and Austin was 15th (8).

Mayo was also the top Rochester boys team with 42 points. The Spartans finished seventh.

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