No socks were allowed on the runway during the Wolfpack Invitational, but Becky Stankus didn't need one.
The Greenbrier High School pole vaulter cleared a personal-best 9-0 to win the girls competition. Stankus' winning vault came a day after a coach recognized her planting too close to the mat and set a sock on the runway as a target.
"Now I have more bend in my pole," she said. "It's pushing me up."
Stankus said she'd tried at least "a bazillion times" this season to clear 9 feet. A celebration on the mat followed her personal-best vault on Saturday. She was then asked what she wanted the next height set to. Stankus paced the runway with her hands on her head.
"Um, 9-4," she said nervously.
Greenbrier's school record was 9-3.
Stankus made three attempts at the record mark, but clipped the bar each time.
The host Wolfpack won both the boys and girls team competition. Among other Columbia County teams, Evans finished fourth, Lakeside seventh and Harlem 10th.
The Knights were missing a couple of their key members, including shot-putter Tim Tillman and long-jumper Trey Henderson, who made it in time to compete in the relay events.
Evans coach Bill Madigan thought the Knights' Clayton Thomas had the best shot in the triple jump, but he finished second to Burke County's Damian Johnson. Thomas also competed in the long jump, but scratched on all three attempts.
"I told him this is like preseason," Madigan said. "It really doesn't matter until you get to region."
A pair of Lakeside freshman dominated the women's 3,200-meter run.
Anna Bowles and Katie Townsend finished first and second, respectively. They finished a second apart, and 14 seconds ahead of the next-closest finisher.
"We got a young group," Lakeside distance coach Ken Bowles said. "They're really getting excited by success."
One of the day's more exuberant celebrations came from Lakeside's Will Reeve, who didn't place in the 110-meter hurdles but ran a personal-best 16.31 seconds.
"Woohoo!" Reeve shouted as he jumped in the air.
"Don't celebrate too much; you'll hurt yourself," a coach told him.
"But I'm not running any more events," Reeve said, and took off through the infield.
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