CHEYENNE – Brinkley Lewis hoped to clear 11 feet in pole vault by the end of the indoor track and field season.
The Cheyenne Central senior thought reaching that height would give her the best chance of repeating as state champion at next month’s Wyoming state indoor meet.
Lewis is going to have to adjust her goals after clearing 11 feet to win the Kevin Salverson Invitational on Saturday at the Central Fieldhouse. Her winning height also broke the Fieldhouse record of 10 feet, 6 inches, which was set by Cheyenne East’s Stephanie Anderson in 2000.
“My warmups felt really good, and I could tell I had figured something out this week,” Lewis said. “I’m not entirely sure what helped me figure it out, but my takeoffs were a lot better. We worked a lot on takeoffs this week.
“I got the takeoff figured out a little bit, which helped me get more vertical as I went over the bar. I wasn’t losing any momentum.”
Lewis set a school record when she cleared 10-8 to win last winter’s state indoor meet in Gillette. She describes the win as somewhat surprising.
“I was close to some of the top-ranked girls going into state, but I didn’t expect to win,” said Lewis, who won the Class 4A state title in 1-meter springboard diving this past fall. “Everything fell into place. It put some pressure on me this season. I feel like I needed to do better this year, which gave me something to work for.”
The Salverson Invite is just the second meet of the indoor season. The key to Lewis’ success Saturday was having both arms above her head instead of in front of her when she planted her pole to start her takeoff. Being “open” instead of “blocked off” helped Lewis swing through throughout her vault and up over the bar.
“Being open helped her get vertical, and that makes a big difference,” Central pole vault coach Brian Stevenson said. “She’s really close to being completely vertical. Once she gets there, there is no telling how high she can go. ”
Lewis took a crack at 11-6, and nearly got over it on her first attempt, Stevenson added.
Reaching her indoor goal this early also impacts Lewis’ outdoor goal, which was to clear 12 feet. That mark might be good enough to get her up one more spot up the podium after finishing as state runner-up at last spring's 4A state meet.
Stevenson describes pole vault as an aggressive sport. Not only do timid pole vaulters not ascend to new heights, they increase their risk of injury. Lewis has started to embrace the aggression required to succeed, the coach said.
“Being more aggressive allowed her to go to bigger, longer poles,” Stevenson said. “The higher you hold, the higher you’re going to go. She got aggressive after realizing that was the safest way to do it.
“She got onto bigger poles indoors, and that carried over into the outdoor season.”
Many track athletes use the indoor season as a tune-up for outdoor. Lewis is no different.
“I like indoor because I don’t have to worry about the weather, but I like the outdoor season because I vault better after practicing all winter,” Lewis said.
Central boys win Salverson title
The Cheyenne Central boys indoor track and field team won the team championship at Saturday’s Kevin Salverson Invitational on Saturday.
The Indians’ lone wins of the meet came from Shawn Basart in the 55-meter hurdles (9.04 seconds) and the 4x320 relay team (3 minutes, 10.37 seconds). They also got runner-up finishes from Kain Urdiales (55-meter dash), Josh Dent (1,600-meter run), Sam Melchior (high jump), Mile Porwoll (pole vault) and Auggie Lain (shot put).
Burns-Pine Bluffs’ Abe Serrano leapt 36 feet, 9 inches to win triple jump.
Central’s girls took second in the team race.
Senior Averie Perriton won high jump by clearing 4-10. She also took top honors in the 55 hurdles (9.63) and the 1,600 (6:11.87). She was runner-up in the 800 (2:40.70).
Cheyenne East senior Mikaila Trujillo won the 800 (2:40.23).
Central’s Kalyanna Flores won the 400-meter dash (1:07.39) and took second in the 55 (7.99).
East also got a runner-up finish from Abbie Mickelson in shot put (33-0½) and Gracie Craig in the 1,600 (6:20.30).
Burns-Pine's Serenity Burkett won long jump with a mark of 14-4½.