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4A/3A track and field: Chase McGee of Camas wins district title in pole vault, aims to go higher

McGee cleared 15-2 to win the event by two feet

By Tim Martinez, Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published: May 8, 2024, 10:56pm
3 Photos
Chase McGee of Camas clears the bar at 15 feet, two inches to win the boys pole vault at the 4A/3A Greater St. Helens League district track and field meet at McKenzie Stadium on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.
Chase McGee of Camas clears the bar at 15 feet, two inches to win the boys pole vault at the 4A/3A Greater St. Helens League district track and field meet at McKenzie Stadium on Wednesday, May 8, 2024. (Tim Martinez/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

Chase McGee of Camas has gone higher than any other high school pole vaulter in the state this season, clearing 16 feet, one inch at the Nike Jesuit Relays on April 26.

And he feels he can go higher.

“That one felt great,” McGee said of the 16-1 vault. “I think I got some more room on that one. The vaults after it, I got a little excited and came up short. But soon to be more.”

More didn’t come on Wednesday at the first day of the 4A/3A Greater St. Helens League district track and field meet at McKenzie Stadium.

McGee did win the 4A pole vault, although that was a bit of a foregone conclusion. The competition was really about who would finish in second place, as all other competitors had been eliminated by the time McGee jumped in with his first vault at 13-8.

17 Photos
Gabriella Thompson of Camas competes in the 4A girls high jump at the 4A/3A Greater St. Helens League district track and field meet at McKenzie Stadium on Wednesday, May 8, 2024.
4A/3A district track and field, Day 1 Photo Gallery

He would eventually clear 15-2 after three misses at 15-8.

McGee said to go higher, he has been using bigger poles. And in order to get over the bar with those bigger poles, he needs more speed in his approach. And to get more speed, he needs a longer approach run to the bar.

“So I looked at the back of the runway back there, and it just wasn’t quite long enough for my long run,” McGee said. “So I started with (a shorter) run, and I was feeling good. So I just kept on that one.”

McGee said the goal Wednesday was to focus on technique and keep advancing. That will be the plan at next week’s bi-district meet in Kent.

“With this meet and the bi-districts coming up, I’m just trying to get the qualifying height to go on to state,” he said.

Wednesday’s meet was about surviving-and-advancing for many athletes. And for some, it was really about surviving.

The most dramatic moment of the day happened when there wasn’t even a race on the track.

During warmups for the 4A girls 100-meter hurdles, Union freshman Leilani Mays, who has posted the second-best time in the state in the event at 4A, took a hard tumble over a hurdle that had been knocked over by another competitor.

After staying down on the track for a few moments, Mays got up and headed back to the starting line with a noticeable limp.

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She then gutted out a tough race, edging out Skyview’s Cameron Watson by one-one hundredths of a second, winning to 15.61 seconds to Watson’s 15.62.

Mays was the top seed in the girls 100 meters about 30 minutes later. But she opted not to run in that event in order to get treatment on her leg in hopes that she can compete in Thursday’s second day of competition.

Watson’s 100 hurdle race also was a gutty performance. The Skyview freshman was battling a sore back after finishing second in the triple jump earlier Wednesday.

After finishing the hurdles, Watson had to be helped over to the high jump pit by teammates.

She spent several minutes trying to loosen up her back before competing in the high jump. Ultimately, she was unable to qualify for next week’s bi-district meet in that event.

Besides McGee, Camas boys also got district title wins from Jack Macdonald in the 100 (10.91), Cohen Butler in the 1,600 (4:23.82), Jared Williams in the javelin (161-5) and Max Ensinger in the 110 hurdles (15.08).

Camas also got wins in the girls meet from Savannah Garden in the 100 (12.86), Stephanie Edwards in the javelin (117-2) and Gabriella Thompson in the triple jump (33-7.5). The Papermakers also won the 800-meter relay.

Also, Daphne Evenson of Skyview won the 1,600 (4:59.00) and Skylar Fridriksson of Battle Ground (32-5.5).

In the 3A boys meet, Cash Cook of Mountain View won the javelin (170-1), Solomon Ogbeama of Prairie won the 100 (11.13), Mohid Khan of Evergreen won the 1,600 (4:35.74), Drayden Starke-Shaffer of Heritage took the triple jump (42-4.5) and Jude Beck of Kelso on the 110 hurdles (16.36).

In the 3A girls meet, Heritage got wins from Makayla Lawrence in the 100 (12.41), Margarita Mahei in the 1,600 (5:21.61) and the 800 relay. Kelso got wins from Avery Ness in the 100 hurdles (16.88), Jordyn Robarge in the shot put (32-2.5) and Ellie Treadway in the javelin (115-0).

Lauren Adams of Mountain View won the high jump at 5-0.

Not all of Wednesday’s events were reported by meet organizers. The meet concludes Thursday with field events starting at noon and track events at 4 p.m. at McKenzie Stadium.

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