Friendly Competition: Szucs wins 4A girls pole vault championship


Clearing 11 feet, four inches, Palmer Ridge senior Grace Szucs won the 2019 4A girls pole vault state championship Thursday at Jefferson County Stadium.

“I was hopeful, but I wasn’t sure, so it feels good,” Szcus said after she came in first place.

She set a personal record in the win, beating out her previous record of 11 feet, one inch by three inches.  On the podium after the event, Szucs stood next to Lewis-Palmer sophomore Alexa Oatman, who finished as the runner-up.

“She’s actually one of my good friends,” Szucs said of Oatman.  “We were both on the same gymnastics team. She and I were both neck and neck, she was seeded above me, so I figured it would come down to the two of us. I really wanted her to do well, but I also wanted to do well.”

“We’ve been friends for years, so it was really fun to do that,” Oatman said.  “I’m glad she won because she’s a senior and she had her moment.  Next year, I’ll have my moment as first.”

Oatman cleared 11 feet, one inch, an inch short of her personal best.

“Going into it, I was first in 4A, so there was the pressure of making sure I had to do good, but then I told myself ‘take it easy, you’re still a sophomore, still have two years to do this.”

Even in competition, Oatman had Szucs to lean on.

“Just kind of encouraged me,” Oatman said of Szucs.  “It wasn’t any speific words, just like ‘you got this, breath.’ I could tell she as kind of stressed out too, but we were both there for each other to support.”

Szucs agreed she was on cloud nine with the way it panned out for both her and Oatman.

“This is the best way it could have gone. I’m extremely thankful,” she said.

In top 10 finishes, Marlia Porreco of Discovery Canyon came in fourth and Kaya Wick of Pueblo West came in sixth.

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