Sunday, February 11, 2018

Chase Smith becomes fourth Husky in school history to clear 18 feet indoors...

SEATTLE—One day after winning the pole vault at the Husky Classic with a clearance of  17-5.5 (5.32m), Washington’s Chase Smith (above/photo by Howard Lao) returned to the Dempsey Indoor to win the UW Open meet Sunday, and in doing so, became the fourth vaulter in school history to clear the hallowed 18-foot mark.

Smith cleared a personal best 18-1 (5.51m) to join Brad Walker, Scott Roth and Jax Thoirs as the only four men in UW history to clear 18 feet indoors (Garth Willard in 1992 and Steve Oravetz in 1979 turned the trick outdoors, giving the UW a total of six).

The junior, who qualified for last year’s NCAA indoor championships, began the day with a first attempt clearance of 16-6 (5.03m) then a first attempt make at 17-0 (5.18m).

Once he had the victory assured, he cleared 17-11.75 (5.48m) on his second attempt, then went 18-1 (5.51m) on his first attempt.

“It’s a good feeling to look back and know that there’s a lot to fix.”

He normally likes to start around 17-6, but after jumping for the second day in a row, he and Husky vault coach Pat Licari made the decision to start low as he didn’t have time to figure out his pole selection.

At yesterday’s Husky Classic, he attempted a personal best 17-11.75 (5.48m) and didn’t get it, but felt like he was in a good place today, telling himself on the runway, ‘you got this’.

On that first attempt, he blew through the pole, and decided to go to a bigger pole, a decision that proved correct.

After that make, Licari quickly looked at the TFRRS descending order and helped Smith make the call to go for another PR at 5.51 (18-1), a mark that put him in a tie for eighth on the NCAA Division I list this season.

Smith cleared that height on his first attempt, and thought to himself as he landed, “Whoa—no way!”

After calming down, he and Licari decided to go for a 9-centimeter PR, raising the bar to 18-4.5 (5.60m), a mark that would have put him in a tie for fourth on the NCAA descending order list had he made it.

Courtesy of the UW track team's Instagram account, here's video of Smith's jump:

The other big mark of the day came in the men’s high jump, as Shadle Park HS graduate Jakobe’ Ford, who won three events at last year’s Washington state high school championships, won with a clearance of 7-04.25 (2.24m), which would tie him for seventh on the current US indoor list.

Ford was originally scheduled to attend Texas Tech, but had some academic issues, and is enrolled at Everett CC.

In the women’s 1000, Trinity Western’s Regan Yee, the winner of the women’s mile Saturday, got the win ahead of Washington alum Eleanor Fulton of Skechers, running 2:42.99 to 2:43.28.

Academy of Art's Mobolade Ajomale, a Canadian Olympian in the 4 x 100 relay, won the 60 (6.81), and 400 (47.31), with the latter earning him an automatic qualifier for next month's NCAA Division II championships.

With upcoming conference championships, all five of Washington’s Division II schools had athletes entered in the meet, plus Seattle University and the host Huskies, with several other Division I, II, III and NAIA schools from around the Northwest and California, along with the University of Hawaii, which had a team in the Husky Classic, and was looking for an additional competitive opportunity.

NOTE:  The University of Washington contributed to this report.  The IAAF and TFRRS contributed statistical data used in this report.

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