High school track and field

St. Gregory's Boulger eyes state title repeat in pole vault

2014-04-23T00:00:00Z St. Gregory's Boulger eyes state title repeat in pole vaultBy Derek Evans For the Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

Winning a championship is difficult, but defending that title can be even tougher.

Stephanie Boulger is up for the challenge.

The St. Gregory senior won the Division IV state girls pole vault title last spring with an 11-foot clearance, and first-year coach Jesse Vondracek said there’s no reason why Boulger can’t repeat.

“I think she should win it again handily,” Vondracek said. “She’s been jumping really well this year and jumped higher this year than she did last year.”

Boulger cleared 11-6 earlier this season, the best mark in the division by 6 inches. She will compete in the Southern Arizona Championships at Mountain View today in one of her final primers before the state meet begins May 9.

The Star recently caught up with Boulger to find out three reasons she thinks she will repeat.

1. Consistency

She said it: “I’ve just been working really hard at practice to stay consistent. That’s a lot of what pole vaulting is about, is to stay consistent in terms of misses, those type of things, and form.”

Coach-speak: “She’s had a few tough meets where the consistency isn’t totally there,” Vondracek said, “but I know she’ll be able to perform when the time comes.”

2. Quality

She said it: “I’ve been focusing on what’s more important, rather than where I place in the meet, and just doing my best. If I do my best that day, then hopefully I’ll be able to win.”

Coach-speak: “She’s totally focused on pole vault this year. She’s jumped in a few relays when I asked her to, but she did a few more running events last year, it was kind of hurting her focus on pole vaulting.”

3. Strategy

She said it: “It’s important to stay focused within the meet because, especially at state, there’s a lot going on all around you — also having a good strategy within the competition and making sure I stay clean throughout the lower heights.”

Coach-speak: “She has all the tools she needs; she just needs to relax and stay focused. She has all the pieces; she just needs to execute.”

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