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MFalls field athletes withstand windy practice before area meet

Five Marble Falls High School athletes competing at the District 25 and 26-5A area meet Wednesday, April 20, enjoyed one more practice on a cool and windy afternoon at Mustang Stadium April 19.

The athletes included senior discus thrower Logan Barnes, senior high jumper Forest Swan, and pole vaulters Anne McCary, a junior, and Meredith Cormier and Django Segovia, who are both seniors. The sixth qualifier was freshman discus thrower Kylie Roberts, who was with the Lady Mustang softball team. She practiced during the morning.

Each athlete worked out for about 30 minutes where their event coaches concentrated on footwork, hand placement, and arches.

No group was more impressive at the District 25-5A meet than the pole vaulters. Segovia won the boys district championship by clearing 13 feet, while McCary and Cormier each vaulted 10-6 to finish second and third in the girls division.

All three started pole vaulting in the seventh grade and each were drawn to the event in different ways.

“I had a math teacher, and he knew my background,” Cormier said. “He knew I was a gymnast. He thought I was perfect for it. He insisted I try it. I was pretty good at it.”

“I was running cross country and saw the pole vaulters,” Segovia said. “I came out and decided to try it. I liked it and kept doing it.”

“My gymnastics coach’s daughter was a pole vaulter at Lake Travis,” McCary said. “I looked up to her and wanted to try it. I ended up enjoying it.”

All agree it takes a level of courage to participate in this event where the goal is to go higher than the meet before.

“In terms of physical ability, you have to have speed and strength,” coach Justin Doiron said. “You have to have courage and a sense of body awareness and overall toughness about you. You can’t go into a run or a jump with any timidness. They really attack the runway.”

But because of the level of preparation and their knowledge of the sport, the pole vaulters compete and land properly.

“You learn the technique and you learn how to do it,” Cormier said. “It’s not easy for people who don’t know. It gets easier.”

At the district meet, winds were blowing at 25-30 mph, which forced organizers to move the landing mat so runners had tailwind behind them instead of a headwind in front of them. Mother Nature did little to slow down the Marble Falls pole vaulters, who arrived at the district meet confident. They also were confident because of their preparation, the coach noted.

“It’s a highly technical, highly repetitive event,” he said.

Because of their knowledge of the event, they know where they can get better, he added, so they’re correcting and adjusting. That explains how Segovia was close to breaking the program record at the district meet, which is about 15-0.

“At the last meet, I got over the bar and hooked it on the way down,” he said. “I want to win (the area championship), get first place and break the school record.”

“Through the years he’s improved,” Dorion said. “He cleared 14-6 at the Canyon Lake meet and at invitationals, he’s cleared 14-11. It’s something that means a lot to him.”

McCary said she hurt her arm because she was practicing so much that she was forced into recovery about a week before the district meet. So she participated in one practice before earning the silver medal. She’s taking the same mindset to New Braunfels.

“I’m just trying to do my best and feel comfortable,” she said.

Cormier made one change in equipment for the district meet, opting to go with a longer pole that allowed her to clear 10-6, at the suggestion of teammate Joshua Allen.

“I’d like to get to 11 feet or 11-6,” she said.

Segovia has been pole vaulting the last several months, even before the start of the high school outdoor season. He is hoping to be a collegiate athlete in the event.

Cormier, the daughter of 1992 Marble Falls High School graduates Rob and Charla Cormier, is attending Texas Tech University and wants to make the cheer squad. She already submitted a video and is hoping for a tryout.

During his practice, Barnes was consistently tossing the discus between 160-170 feet, good enough to finish in the top four to advance to the regional meet, coach Richard Scales said.

“Logan isn’t consistently hitting that,” he said. “What we’re working toward is being relaxed and not forcing the throws so he can achieve what we know he’s doing now. We want to have fun at practice and be a kid out here.”

Barnes has been throwing farther during practices. But he also has the big-moments mentality where he has a tendency to make one key play or throw at the right moment to impact the outcome. They happen when Barnes doesn’t feel pressure.

“We want him to relax and throw and have fun,” Scales said. “He’s turning some heads.”

Barnes will attend Texas Lutheran University where he’ll be a member of the football team and throw for the track and field team.

Scales noted that Roberts has a lot of natural ability and talent.

“Kylie is naturally strong and doesn’t realize it,” he said. “She has the genetics. She puts in a lot of work behind the scenes and people don’t realize it.”

Swan, who finished tied for fourth at the district meet but was beaten on attempts, advanced to the area meet when one of the other high jumpers scratched. And he’s made of the most of his opportunity, coach Austin Silva said.

“He definitely had to earn it,” he said. “He’s a senior, he’s been doing this for awhile. He understands he’s going to have to earn it.”

Unlike last year when Marble Falls had the top-ranked high jumper in Class 5A, Kason O’Riley, who won the state title, there’s not a clear-cut favorite, Silva said.

“The field as a whole is wide open,” he said. “That’s what’s really exciting. I think (Swam is) more than capable of advancing to regionals. He can get height. What we’re going to have to work on and where he’s going to have to be better is going over the bar and what he does when he gets over the top of it. His arch has to be exceptional.”

The athletes will compete at either 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. at the area meet hosted by New Braunfels Canyon.

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