MESA - St. Gregory junior Stephanie Boulger couldn't stop smiling after she cleared 11 feet in the girls pole vault Friday at the Division IV state championship meet.
In reality, she probably won't stop smiling anytime soon.
Boulger's vault at Mesa Community College earned the Hawk her first state title, and it set a personal best all in one. She cleared 11-even with no trouble on her second attempt and held on to win when Benson's Rhiannon Reece missed on her final try.
"I've been ready for this for so long, and I've been looking forward to it so much," Boulger said. "I was so excited I couldn't stop smiling afterward."
Hoping to extend her personal record, Boulger moved the bar up to 11-3 with the title already secured but missed three straight times.
"I thought I was going to get it," she said. "I think I had the height. I just couldn't get far enough into the pit, so next meet."
Boulger was one of two local winners in the second day of the state meet that concludes today with remaining finals for all four divisions.
Pusch Ridge Christian senior Sarah Macdonald won the Division IV girls 3,200 meters in 11 minutes 35.11 seconds for the second consecutive year. She also anchored the 3,200 relay team to a second-place finish in 9:54.53.
"I felt super strong," Macdonald said about the individual 3,200. "It wasn't my best time I've ever gotten. I've been in the 20s, and I was hoping to go lower than that, but it's OK."
Macdonald swept the three distance events last year and can do the same by winning the 800 and 1,600 today.
On the boys side, San Manuel senior Wayne Newman, who swept the Division IV hurdle events last year, had the fastest qualifying times for today's finals. He ran the 110 high hurdles in 14.37 and the 300 hurdles in 38.69. Both times were personal bests.
"I'd been on a quadriceps injury for most of the season, and I couldn't run 100 percent, so now it's finally good and I can run my best," Newman said. "It's amazing to be doing it at a big event like this."
Pusch Ridge junior Kyle Cajero, the reigning cross country state champion, finished a narrow second in both the Division IV 1,600 (4:21.10) and 800 (1:58.01).
St. Augustine Catholic's Miranda Jackson came in with the best mark in the Division IV girls discus but finished second (111-8). She is among the favorites in today's shot put competition.
Rio Rico's Braulio Lopez was the top local finisher in Division III. He finished second in the boys 800 by .15 of a second in 1:56.67.
Contact high school sports coordinator Daniel Gaona at email@example.com or 807-7761. On Twitter @DanielGaona13