E.A. Sports Today

Going for Moore

White Plains’ junior finishes second in the 4A-5A boys pole vault at state indoor meet; Oxford qualifies three in sprints/hurdles

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Matthew Moore became White Plains’ first-ever indoor track state medalist and its first overall track medalist in eight years Friday when he finished second in the Class 4A-5A pole vault at the AHSAA Indoor Track and Field Championships at the Birmingham Crossplex.

Moore, a junior, vaulted a personal best and school record 13-0. Walker Junkin of Winfield City won the event at 14-feet-3.

Moore is the Wildcats’ first state track medalist since Daniel Sheppard made the podium in the outdoor high jump in 2009. They have only had an indoor program two years.

“I feel very accomplished,” Moore said. “Clearing 13 is really good for me and it feels really nice. I like the fact I’ve been working and training really hard trying to get that and I got it today.”

The bar started at 9 feet, but Moore didn’t join the competition until the bar was at 11-0. His spot on the podium was guaranteed when John Boyer of St. John Paul II failed to clear 12-6. When Scottsboro’s Wesley Conner failed to clear 13-0 it left only Moore and Junkin to battle for the gold.

Moore went over on his first attempt.

“When I got over it and as I was falling down I saw it stand not moving,” Moore said. “When I landed everything in me was just super excited, super happy, pumped up.

“I don’t think it was perfect jump, I think the things I needed to go right went right at the right time. It wasn’t perfect but everything I needed to be right were right.”

Moore missed his three attempts at 13-3 with efforts that all looked “really good.” He had the height on every one by several inches, but “just didn’t finish the jump” and hit the bar on the way down. Junkin kept going, cleared 14-3 and missed three attempts at a state record 14-7 1/4.

Moore’s goal now is to get 14 feet by the outdoor Calhoun County Championship, 15 or 16 by the end of his senior year and then keep climbing in college.

“In practice he gets around 14-6, but it’s a mental type thing to actually perform perfectly,” said John Moore, the vaulter’s father and coach. “There are so many things that have to go right. Everything just has to go smooth and it all happens in one second. I’m super proud of him.”

Teammate Gabe Sanford finished eighth, topping out at 11-0, giving the Wildcats nine points in the event.

It was a good day for White Plains. Savannah Yates finished eighth in the girls 4A-5A pole vault (8-0), James Elrod finished eighth in the boys 4A-5A triple jump (38-11¼) and the Wildcats’ boys 4×200 relay finished eighth (1:38.50). Ryleigh Randall qualified for the girls 4A-5A 60 hurdles final with a school-record 10.4.

Elsewhere in Class 1A-3A, Piedmont’s Macy Hanson (8-0) and Megan Mohon (8-0) finished T-5 and eighth, respectively, in the girls pole vault; Ohatchee’s Brennan Wink tied for seventh in the boys pole vault (10-6); Ohatchee’s Marli Hanks finished sixth (26-3¼) and Pleasant Valley’s Alexis Law seventh in the girls shot put; and Pleasant Valley finished fifth in the boys 4×200 relay (1:38.27).

In Class 6A running finals, Oxford scored in both 6A 4×200 relays, the girls finishing eighth (1:54.01) — shaving more than a second off their previous best time — and the boys sixth (1:34.88). And in the running preliminaries, Laquavious Ford was the third-fastest qualifier for the boys 60 final (7.08), Antuan Crowder grabbed the last spot (7.15) and Trevon Sanders qualified sixth for the boys 60 hurdles final (9.70)

“Our biggest achievements from today would have to be our three boys qualifying for tomorrow’s finals,” Oxford coach Brad Ward said. “I believe any of these three have a great shot at a podium spot as long as they remained focused and compete at the level we know they are capable of.

“We are extremely proud of the effort our athletes put forth today. Many of them set a new bar for themselves by putting up some of their personal best numbers. … These boys and girls are competing against some of the best the state has to offer and are making them earn every position they get. We have a lot of confidence heading into tomorrow’s competition.”

On the cover: White Plains’ Matthew Moore (R) at the podium. (Photo courtesy of John Moore)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login