Pole vault leads the way for Marysville-Pilchuck

Sarah Clark, left, and Riley Taitingfong, right, advise sophomore Summer Cull, center, during the pole vault competition. - Travis Sherer
Sarah Clark, left, and Riley Taitingfong, right, advise sophomore Summer Cull, center, during the pole vault competition.
— image credit: Travis Sherer

TACOMA — It had been a day had been four years in the making for the pole vaulting duo of Marysville-Pilchuck seniors Sarah Clark and Riley Taitingfong.

“It’s been so weird that the last week has been in anticipation of today and it’s over so quickly,” said Taitingfong.

Clark finished sixth at the Class 4A state meet at Mount Tahoma High School May 29 while Taitingfong finished 13th.

The three-day meet, which began May 27 was plagued with some of the worst weather in recent memory and didn’t lighten up for the girls pole vault.

“It was like you get to a certain point and you hope you land on the side that’s padded,” Clark said. “At this point, we would have rather taken rain over wind.”

An odd thing to say, considering the 3A pole vault competition was postponed the day before due to rain — but it didn’t keep Gonzaga-bound Clark from ending her career in style, with a personal best 10-09.

Meanwhile, the wait for Taitingfong to compete for state meet was quickly over, after a two-year wait, as she was poised to earn a state berth near the end of her junior season, but a broken ankle prolonged her wait.

“I didn’t do as well as I’d like,” said Taitingfong, who reached 9-06 and plans on attending the University of Washington in the fall. “But I’m happy to be here too. It’s been a long time coming.”

The only girls to earn individual medals from M-P came from the pole vault as sophomore Summer Cull took home eighth place, reaching 10-00.

“She is such an integral part of our team,” said Clark of Cull. “She’ll be up here with the best pole vaulters in a couple years, but she does everything for us.”

Cull was also a member of a pair of ribbon-earning relays. Along Stephanie Banas, Farrah Bradley and sister Cali Cull, Summer helped the 4x100 relay team finish seventh with a time of 50.27. She was also a member of the 4x400 team that earned sixth with a time of 4:00.36, along with teammates Dacia Heckendorf, Alicia Oden and Cali Cull. In the preliminaries, the foursome ran the fastest time at state, finishing at 3:55.67.

Cali Cull, a senior, also finished 14th in the long jump, with a distance of 16-00.

The boys boasted a couple of medal winners, with senior Mark Pangilinan earning eighth place in the 110-meter hurdles (15.67) and junior pole vaulter Connor Hemming finishing eighth with a height of 13-00.

Pangilinan was also part of the 4x100 relay team that earned fifth place with a time of 43.07, along with AJ Kvangnes, Tony Stanfel and Cody House.

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