Stafford (now senior) star Gennifer Hirata saved the best for last. This past weekend in Greensboro, in less than ideal conditions, vaulted her way to a national runners-up finish and to VA #2 all-time. Her clearance of 13-2.25 is just three-quarters of an inch off of the VA State Record.
Going into the competition we knew we would see something special. You had Gracie Jauch (4A State Champ) and Gennifer finally getting to compete against each other at peak form.
The competition started out great for both of them who cleared their first two heights on first tries. Then Jauch clipped the bar at 3.82 meters and needed a second attempt to clear it. Gen then did the same at 3.92 making it anyone's competition to win or lose.
Then at 4.02 everything changed. Gen cleared it on her first attempt and was the only one in the entire competition to do so. Jauch missed all three and was out.
Gen waited anxiously as two other girls squeaked over the bar to raise the crossbar to 4.12 (13-6.25). Whether it was nerves of knowing she could win the national title or knowing that she would break the state record it just seemed too much too soon for Gen.
She had only been on her new pole for two weeks and it just wasn't her day to go that high.
The great news though is that Gen has a whole other year to improve on her vaulting and you can bet that after this performance she and we are expecting closer to 14 feet this time this year.