Mother Nature did what the state’s top Class 2A pole could not — keep Deer Park’s Bailee Jacka grounded.
The DPHS junior, ranked the top female Class 2A vaulter for most of the season, wasted little time at Friday’s state championships in Tacoma in besting the field with a 10-foot, 9-inch effort.
Her performance gave her the first Deer Park track state title since Mackenzie Johnson won the high jump championship in 2006.
While Jacka had the state title in hand, any chance of eclipsing her personal mark of 11-7, set last week in the regional championships, was put on hold to next season as a downpour interrupted the competition.
Jacka felt like their was a chance at a new personal record before the rain halted the event.
Jacka’s performance was remarkable since Deer Park does not have any pole vaulting facilities.
A gymnast as a youth and middle schooler, many of Jacka’s teammates were pole vaulters at Mead High School and they told her how much fun the event.
“It looked really fun,” said Jacka, who began working with the Mead pole vault coach Laurie Chadwick midway through her freshman season.
“It was really difficult,” added Jacka reminiscing about that first pole vaulting season.
By her sophomore season, she was clearing the bar at 9-9.
Jacka continued to work with Chadwick over the summer and at Spokane Community College in the winter. During the season she still meets with Chadwick for 60-90 minutes one day a week.
Jacka said an aggressive nature through all phases of the event is the key to a successful vault.
As for equipment, her family has bought some of her poles ($300-$400 each) while she borrows others from Chadwick.
With a state championship medal around her neck, Jacka is excited for next season when the refurbished high school track will include a pole vault pit.
The high school removed the original pit more than 20 years ago for safety reasons.
“It will be really great to practice every day,” Jacka said.
The chance to work on the event more than once a week, Jacka said, will help with her consistency.
Head coach Cameron Gilbert has also been taking coaching lessons from Chadwick to help Jacka next spring.
Jacka is looking at breaking the 12-foot barrier at a USATF meet this summer or next school year.
“We’ll see where it goes from there,” she said.
• While Jacka captured a state title, Deer Park missed on a second championship in almost a blink of an eye.
Allison Gladhart, the top ranked Class 2A 800-meter runner in the state, was edged by Interlake’s Summer Hanson in Saturday’s final. Hanson’s 2-minute, 15.32 performance edged Gladhart by .68 seconds.
Gladhart won a second state medal as the 1,600-meter relay team (which included Jalynn Moser, Alison Ruygrok and Holland Baydo) finished eighth at 4:13.45. Sehome won the race in 4:01.81.
Finally, the Lady Stags’ 400-meter relay team of Jacka, Ruygrok, Moser and Nikole Ball placed sixth at 50.43. North Kitsap won the title in 48.49.