Elite eight headed to state meet

(May 22, 2015) Eight Stephen Decatur outdoor track athletes will compete in the 3A state championship meet, today and Saturday, at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

The Seahawks advanced to the state competition after placing top four in their events during the 3A South Regional meet, May 14 and 16, at Westlake High School in Waldorf.

“I think we did pretty well. I figured that it would probably be between five or seven or eight people to go to states, so with eight making it, that was the top end of what I thought was pretty reasonable for us,” said Decatur Coach Jody Stigler. “I thought the competition was a little better this year than last year so for us to still get eight to qualify is good.”

Decatur was the only 3A South squad with female pole vaulters–Northeast had one male vaulter–so the athletes competed in the regional event at their own school last Thursday.

Junior Katie Hofman and senior Hannah Wilson both pole vaulted 8 feet. Hofman made the vault first so she took top honors.

“It was pretty exciting,” Hofman said. “I was pretty happy [with 8 feet]. The qualifying height was 8 [feet] 4 [inches] [for those not finishing in the top four] so I went straight up to 8 [feet] 6 [inches] because I knew I already qualified [for coming in first].”

She was close to getting over the bar at 8 feet 6 inches. On her last attempt she nearly made it, but the bar fell. Hofman is looking forward to competing in the state meet and said her goal is to vault 9 feet.

Having each other for support during the state pole vault event will help to calm nerves, Wilson said.

“Hannah’s like the most positive person I know. I think she’ll really lift our spirits there,” Hofman said.

Wilson will also compete in the high jump event at states. She won the high jump regional title for the second consecutive year in 2015.

“That was pretty exciting. It was close,” she said.

Wilson was successful at 5 feet on her first attempt. Huntingtown’s Kaitlyn Hinds made 5 feet on her third try. The bar was moved up to 5 feet 1 inch, but both girls were unsuccessful.

Wilson admitted that she was nervous during the regional competition because she wasn’t pleased with her performance during the Bayside Conference championship meet on May 1. The tape she put on the ground to mark her starting spot was moved and it threw off her jumps. For regionals, she made sure it was exactly where she wanted it.

“I was really happy. Once I made it for pole vault then I knew I had to [qualify for state] for high jump,” she said.

Wilson said she is excited and nervous for the state meet.

“As long as I do my best I’ll be happy,” she said.

Junior Brett Kim’s pole vault of 11 feet earned him first place and a regional title.

“I felt pretty good about [vaulting 11 feet],” Kim said. “It’s my best in meets so far. I got 11 feet at Baysides too.”

He was close to making 11 feet 6 inches, but came up a bit short.

Kim said during practices he sets the bar at 12 feet and his goal at states is to vault 13 feet.

“I think I can get it because I’m working on it pretty hard at practice,” Kim said Monday.

Kim will be joined by two other Decatur junior vaulters at states. Hyun Chun pole vaulted 10 feet, good for second place in the regional competition. Evan Haas, who has been battling a back injury, finished in fourth place with a vault of 8 feet.

“We support each other. It’s great to be with people you know when you’re doing it,” Kim said. “I feel more comfortable when I’m around my teammates.”

Senior Sean Velazquez-Alvino placed fourth in the 110-meter hurdles (16.4 seconds), and Parker Harrington, a senior, will also compete at states. He took fourth in the 800-meter race (2:00.42).

Sophomore Bethany Williams will join her teammates as well. She finished fourth in the long jump (15 feet 9.75 inches).

“States will be tough, obviously. My expectation is that everybody has their best time, jump, whatever it may be,” Stigler said. “They just need to not psych themselves out…I think sometimes the kids go up there and they get overwhelmed. If they just do their best and don’t freak themselves out over just going up there and the whole spectacle of it then I think they’ll do just fine.”

 

Eight Stephen Decatur outdoor track athletes will compete in the 3A state championship meet, scheduled for today and Saturday, at Morgan State University in Baltimore. Pictured, from left, are pole vaulters Katie Hofman, Brett Kim, Hyun Chun and Evan Haas, Sean Velazquez-Alvino (110-meter hurdles), Parker Harrington (800 meters), long jumper Bethany Williams and pole vaulter/high jumper Hannah Wilson.

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