Friday, June 19, 2015

SPORTS STORY >> Vault record falls again

Leader sports editor

It’s Saturday at the Arkansas Vault Center in Black Springs. The pole is planted following the powerful approach and bends into an acute angle. The straight left leg swings from behind and out in front of the bent right leg as the bent pole straightened, propelling Tori Weeks upside down, almost 15 feet into the air. The feet came together as the right hip cleared the bar and she let go with the left hand. She curls over the bar and lets go with the right. The left wrist grazes the bar on descent.

It begins to wobble as Tori falls to the pit. It stays. She’s the new national high school girls’ record holder, clearing 14-feet, 4-inches and breaking the record of 14-3 1/4 set by her twin sister Lexi Weeks on Feb. 21.

Sprinting down the halide lit runway is Lexi, leaping onto the pit, the first to embrace her sister as she stands almost in disbelief with her face in her hands.

The duo has dominated Arkansas high school pole vaulting for three years and have been ranked in the top five nationally for almost two.

A week earlier, Tori achieved a personal best outdoor vault of 14-1 at the Great Southwest Track and Field Events in Albuquerque, N.M. to win that event. Lexi finished second in that event with a height a 13-6.


It wasn’t all second-place for Lexi recently. On Monday, Lexi was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year for girls track and field. She has been the Arkansas state record holder for indoor and outdoor for more than a year, and has broken her own outdoor record a few times.

She also has the second-highest high school girls’ outdoor pole vault ever, and the highest in the nation this year. She is three inches behind Desiree Freier, of Texas, who set the high school outdoor record at 14-6 last year.

The two will be teammates at Arkansas next season along with Tori and two other Cabot graduates. Ariel Voskamp, who just finished seventh in the NCAA Women’s Outdoor Championships in the pole vault, will be a senior Razorback, and the Weeks’ classmate Micah Huckabee, the state champion distance runner, will also be a freshman on the national powerhouse.