Hayfield sophomore Carrie Bennett broke a personal record today by clearing 10 feet 6 inches to capture the pole vault during the first day of the Virginia AAA track and field championships at Norfolk State University.
But that was not the only thing Bennett broke. On her third attempt at 10 feet, Bennett's pole snapped in half.
"I had never broken a pole before," Bennett said. "I had seen it on T.V. and it seems like no big deal -- [the vaulter] just lands on the mat. But the bottom part of the pole snapped up into my back and I landed on it. It knocked the wind out of me, and the pain was unbearable.
"I wasn't even sure if they were going to give me another attempt at first," Bennett added. "But when they did, all that went through my mind was that someone had already cleared 10 feet, my back feels like it is about to fall off, and now I have to move up to a bigger pole."
But Bennett did not even brush the bar in clearing 10 feet on her final jump. She won the event by clearing 10-6 on her second attempt.
The Gar-Field girls lead the meet with 17 points after the first day of competition.
Mount Vernon junior Donisha Freeman uses three words to describe the discus throw, one of two events she is competing in this weekend: "I hate it." But she tolerated it long enough today to capture her first state title with a personal-best winning throw of 127-4.
"I just don't like the discus, period. At the beginning of the season, I was only throwing around 106," said Freeman, who did not place in the event at last year's state meet.
In the boys events, West Springfield senior All-Met Nick Welihozkiy won the shot put by more than two feet with a throw of 56-3 1/4. Chantilly senior Gus Schamader captured the long jump (23-7), and Oakton sophomore Teddy Presley won the high jump (6-8).
West Springfield, Chantilly, Oakton and Great Bridge of Chesapeake are locked in a four-way tie for first with 10 points each.
CAPTION: Brandon Royster of Fairfax High School airs it out on his final jump at the Virginia AAA track meet in Norfolk. Royster took fifth with a leap of 22-8.