By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large
BUDA – Hays High School pole vaulter Jessica Doyle continued her assault on the record books Friday, hitting 13 feet, four inches at the Region IV qualifiers meet at Texas State.
Doyle credited her performance to a new pole, a 13-foot, seven-inch model, which, she said, “molds to you. If gives me more time to do what I need to do.”
And how much time is that?
“About half of a second,” she said.
That half of a second turned out to be worth four inches for Doyle, who reached 13 feet for the first time on April 4 at the District 26-4A meet.
Indeed, that half of a second was worth a school record and personal best, to say nothing of peak improvement just as the track season reaches its most important stage.
Doyle tied the school record set by Britni Lawrence with a vault Friday of 13-1 3/4. Later, Doyle went up to 13-4, which she cleared on the second try. Based on past performances, 13-4 would score in the top six at the Big 12 track championships, which bodes well for Doyle. The Hays pole vaulter has signed a letter of intent at the University of Texas, where she plans to study government.
Doyle’s record upset Lawrence not one bit, as Lawrence is one of Doyle’s coaches. Lawrence, a former state pole vaulting champion at Hays, is due to graduate this year from Texas State.
Doyle, the defending state champion, now will take her act to the Region IV meet next Saturday at Alamo Stadium in San Antonio.
“I’ll be happy to finish second,” Doyle said with characteristic modesty.
More likely, Doyle will finish first. The two top contenders, Allison Daily of Lockhart and Deni Payne of New Braunfels, have topped out this year at 12-6.
How high can Doyle go? She isn’t sure, but she relates that her personal coach, Kris Allison of Lone Star Pole Vaulting in New Braunfels, is trying to talk her up to 13-6 or 13-8.
After Doyle gained four inches on her vault in two weeks, similar improvement would put her at those levels just in time for the state meet May 9-10 at the University of Texas.