CLOVIS — Morro Bay High’s Sierra Emrick was the lone San Luis Obispo County athlete to medal Saturday at the 97th CIF State Track and Field Championships at Veteran’s Memorial Stadium.
In the first appearance at the state championships by a Pirate athlete since 2001, the UC Santa Barbara-bound senior finished sixth in the girls pole vault at 12 feet, 3 inches.
“It’s been so wonderful with my team,” Emrick said. “It’s been a wonderful season and to cap it off like this is amazing.”
Emrick easily cleared the opening mark of 11-3 on her first jump of the night. Then at 11-9 and 12-3, it took Emrick until the second jump to clear those respective heights. Ultimately, the 12-9 mark proved to be her biggest enemy. She missed at what would’ve been her best jump on all three tries.
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“I really, really wanted it,” Emrick said about trying to get over the 12-9 mark. “It was a push and I know I am going to get it soon.”
Emrick set her personal record of 12-7 in winning the Southern Section Division 4 title in meet-record fashion last month.
Santa Margarita’s Kaitlyn Merritt won the event Saturday at 13-3.
Emrick’s Morro Bay teammate, Austin Lay, couldn’t find as much success in his event. The senior, also headed to UC Santa Barbara, ran a 9:22.91 in the boys 3,200 to finish 22nd.
He was 20 seconds off his school-record time from earlier in the season and entered the race 14th in the state. Caleb Webb of Big Bear-Big Bear Lake won the race in 8:47.30.
San Luis Obispo’s William Ernst ran a 4:13.79 to finish ninth in the boys 1,600. The senior came into Saturday’s final as the No. 11 qualifier thanks to his 4:15.97 in Friday’s prelims.
“I felt too comfortable,” Ernst said. “I was able to make my first two moves, but then I just started to fade.”
Ernst was right in the middle of the 12-man pack of runners that all crossed the start-finish line at the 800-meter mark about two seconds apart from each other. But that was when the leaders broke away. It was the second straight night of running for the 1,600 competitors.
“After the day after sores and pains and knowing you’ll have to run again is a little weird,” Ernst said. “I still felt OK but there was definitely a little fatigue there.”