Cassidy Walla clears the crossbar at Thursday's [May 10, 2012] district meet. She became the second NBC freshman to break a school record for the girls track and field team this spring.
Walla raises the (cross) bar
by Nathan Arneal
A lot can pass through your mind in the time it takes to fall 10 feet.
It wasn’t until Cassidy Walla hit the landing pad that she knew it was a historic moment.
“I looked up and saw the bar stayed on and everyone screamed,” the Tiger freshman said.
On her third attempt at 10 feet in the district meet Thursday, Walla cleanly passed over the crossbar and set a new NBC pole vault school record.
She had taken a couple of shots at topping Sara Bloom’s record of 9-10 earlier in the season. On her first two attempts at 10-0 Thursday, she was able to get her body over the bar, but was missing a couple inches of height.
“Her attempts at 10 feet were a lot better than what she’s had in the past,” Tiger vault coach Aaron Neslon said. “Her first two attempts were pretty close. She just nicked it on the way down on the second attempt.”
Walla cleared 9-0 at her first varsity outdoor meet on March 27.
“From there I knew if I just kept working at it I would get there,” she said. “I was hoping I’d get it sometime before next year, and it finally happened.”
Walla has had plenty of help along the way. In addition to Nelson, she said Randy Hansen has spent time working with the NBC vaulters, as well Rick Watson, who coaches the Tiger boy vaulters.
The pole vault school record is the second broken by a Tiger freshman this season, joining Samantha Dirkschneider’s shot put record earlier this spring.
When Bloom set the record at 9-10 at the 2007 district meet, she followed up with a state medal the next week. Tiger coaches are hoping Walla can do the same.
“She’s felt all year she could (break the record),” head coach Jeff Voss said, “and the coaches felt all year she could do that. You could see it was just a matter of when it was going to come together. We hope she can do that next week and get a medal.”
Walla will be one of two freshmen competing in the Class C pole vault at this weekend’s state track meet, where her district height of 10-0 has her seeded third. Judging by recent years, it usually takes a height of 9-6 to earn a state medal.
Nelson said the school record is a bonus for an athlete who still has three years left in front of her.
“I told her it wasn’t really a priority to get the school record this year,” he said, “but obviously we’ll take it when we can get it. Now, it’s something to shoot for at state, to keep improving it.”
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