Call it a progression.
In the adrenaline-propelled pole vault competition, senior Chris Burley has steadily moved the bar, resetting the Great Bend High School track and field boys’ record four times over the last two seasons.
Last Friday, Burley catapulted himself to a new school-record height of 15 feet, six inches. His latest flight eclipsed his former mark of 15-0, securing him a Class 5A regional crown at Salina District Stadium in the process.
Burley makes his final trip to Wichita and the state meet this afternoon at Cessna Stadium on the Wichita State campus with the second-best jump in 5A — trailing only Bishop Carroll’s Nick Meyer, who vaulted 16-0 last Friday in a regional at Carroll and has a season-best of 16-8.
Burley’s ascension in the GBHS record books has been a direct result of a progression of poles put into use.
“That’s the first time I’ve jumped on that pole,” Burley said, moments after clearing 15-6. “I like to get on new poles in a meet, so I feel comfortable on it and I have a little bit more adrenaline going … so I’m not scared.
“I go back to practice and I’m not scared of the pole anymore because I know that I can get on it.”
Prior to the regional meet at Salina District Stadium, Burley switched from a 15-foot pole to a shorter one at 14-6.
“There’s a progression of poles going on,” he said. “If you start out jumping on one pole, you have to move to this pole and that just happens to be the next one for me to get on.”
For Burley, who came close on all three attempts at 16-0 at the regional meet, he’s on the cusp of eclipsing that barrier.
“That’s the goal now,” Burley said, in reference to 16-0. “The goal is to go and compete at state. There’s a really good kid from Bishop Carroll, and my goal is to beat him.
“That’s my next goal, actually. If he has an off-day and I have a spectacular day … it’s definitely attainable now.”
This is Burley’s third-straight state appearance in the pole vault. A two-time state champion in wrestling, he knows as well as anyone how difficult it is to try to maximize one’s efforts when it matters most.
“For the pole vault, it’s really hard because sometimes when you get an adrenaline rush, you’ll run faster and you’ll out-jump your poles and you have to move to the next one,” he said. “It just kind of messes up a lot of stuff, with all of the extra adrenaline going on and the nerves.
“It’s about how mentally tough you are, and anything can happen at state.”
PREP TRACK & FIELD
Class 5A State
Track & Field Championships
Wichita State University
Great Bend Qualifiers
(Event, seeding, name, school,
seed time/distance/height, event time)
800-meter run — 13. Kole Stiner, Great Bend, 2:02.55; Saturday, 5:30 p.m. finals
1,600 run — 11. Stiner, Great Bend, 4:38.81; 16. Christian Graham, Great Bend, 4:45.01; Saturday, 2:05 finals
3,200 run — 11. Chon Chavez, Great Bend, 10:16.38; Tonight, 7:20 finals
4x100 relay — 11. Great Bend (Chris Burley, Antonio Carrasco, Darian Yager, Ty Yager), 44.13; Today, 3:15 prelims; Saturday, 3:20 finals
4x800 — 12. Great Bend (Ky Heeke, Stiner, Richard Lara, Cristian Garcia), 8:24.44; Saturday: 11:40 finals
Pole Vault — 2. Burley, Great Bend, 15-6; today, 3 finals
Triple jump — 15. Anthony Valenzuela, Great Bend, 41-2; Saturday, 9:45 finals
Discus — 4. Jayce Brack, Great Bend, 151-10; 5. Nick Warren, Great Bend, 150-4; Today, 3 finals
Shot put — 2. Brack, Great Bend, 55-3; Saturday, 3 finals
800 run — 12. Kaylan Lagerman, Great Bend, 2:31.22; Saturday, 5:50 finals
Long jump — 10. Shelby Tracy, Great Bend, 16-0 1/4; Saturday, 11:30 finals
Triple jump — 4. Kaylie Doll, Great Bend, 36-3 3/4; Today, 4:45 finals
Pole vault — 3. Selam Ball, 10-0; 6. Hannah Middleton, 9-6; tonight, 6:30 finals