WICHITA — Great Bend High School pole vaulter Chris Burley had his hands full on Friday in the Class 6-1A state track and field championships at Cessna Stadium on the Wichita State University campus.
The junior had to contend with Nick Meyers, a 5A phenom from Bishop Carroll who is ranked No. 1 in the state and 26th in the nation according to the ESPN HS Track & XC website.
Burley fell short of his personal best, 14 feet, six inches, at the state meet, snagging fourth place with a height of 13-6.
“It wasn’t my best performance, but I just have days like that, I guess,” Burley said.
Great Bend head coach Bo Black echoed Burley’s sentiment.
“He’s a really good junior pole vaulter,” Black said. “He just had one of those days. He just went 13-6. He’s a good kid. He didn’t have any excuses. He just had a bad day.
“He’s just a junior. He’ll have another chance.”
Burley went into Friday’s competition looking to shatter his personal best, a school-record height that he originally reached at the Salina Central Invitational at Salina District Stadium.
“I was hoping to get 15, but I don’t know, sometimes it just doesn’t play out right,” Burley said. “I got caught in between pulls.”
Meyers put on a show at the state meet, setting a new meet record before attempting to best the state record. He got the crowd involved before attempting a vault of 17-2, a mark he missed on three separate attempts.
“He’s a junior,” Burley said. “He set the meet record at 16-7, and then threw it up to 17-2 to try to beat the state record.”
Great Bend’s Ball, Middleton claim medals
The Lady Panthers’ Selam Ball finished fourth, and Hannah Middleton claimed fifth in the pole vault on Friday.
“Well, we expected them to do well,” Black said. But you can never tell. At the state meet, anything can happen.”
Ball, a sophomore, reached 10 feet to earn her medal.
Middleton topped out at nine feet.
“They both did pretty well today,” Black said, “and they get to come back next year, so they should have another chance.”