Topeka It's possible that Lawrence High will designate a van specifically for pole vaulters when it heads to Wichita for the state track and field meet next week.
Hey, why not? There will be enough of them.
The Class 6A regional meet Friday saw several city athletes qualify for next week's state meet, but the LHS pole vaulters easily had the most successful group.
Four Lions -- Chelsey Ornburn and Laura Windheuser on the girls side and Ramin Zangeneh and Brendan Halpin on the boys side -- were among the eight total state qualifiers in the pole vault. Another Lion, Nolan Kellerman, just missed the cut with a fifth-place finish.
LHS suddenly is looking like a pole vaulting factory, with four going to state and another just missing the cut.
"They feed off each other," LHS coach Jerry Skakal said. "In practice, they're all jumping together, and they all help each other a lot. It's a neat team to have."
Zangeneh was the lone boys competitor to clear the 12-foot bar Friday, while Ornburn won over Overland Park Aquinas vaulter Laura Rogers by tiebreaker, after both cleared 10-0.
Zangeneh, for one, has had better days, and is looking to have a better day next weekend at state. Still, a first-place finish is nothing to mope over.
"Today was a little shaky in vault," he said. "I would've like to have PR'd, but coming up in state, I hope to get a bigger pole and shoot for 13-6 or 14 feet."
Overall, it was a satisfying day for both Free State and Lawrence High. The most startling result was the complete domination of the girls high jump by FSHS senior Samantha Frisbie. The defending state champion, Frisbie one-upped even her best by leaping a phenomenal 5-feet-7, even though her competition failed to clear the bar after 5-2.
Frisbie's leap will make her the strong favorite at state ... if she wasn't already. She consistently has been jumping 5-4 all season, which put her among the best in Kansas.
"I was kind of sick of jumping 5-4," Frisbie said. "People were like, 'Oh, it's so good,' but to me, it was just another 5-4. I wanted something better."
She certainly did it Friday. Frisbie broke the school record, and her leap is the best in the state this year.
"It's the best regardless of class right now," FSHS coach Steve Heffernan said. "She's worked hard. She earned that."
Free State, in all, had 14 individuals and four relays qualify for next week's meet. Among them were five athletes that qualified in multiple individual events: Kelsey Randall (100, 300 hurdles), Danny Schneider (800, 1,600 meter runs), Ryan Rastok (110, 300 hurdles), Kristin Baker (shot put, discus) and Alysha Valencia (1,600; 3,200).
The Free State boys took third as a team with 79 points. The girls placed fourth with 98 points.
"We got people through that we wanted to get through," Heffernan said, "but we had key individuals that were sick today. Luck wasn't on our side."
Lawrence, meanwhile, will have 11 individuals and four relays next week in Wichita, including multiple-event qualifiers Sylvester Birdsong (long jump, high jump, 110 hurdles) and Scott Penny (shot put, discus).
Zangeneh, Ornburn, Drew Cummings (400 meter dash) and Amy Magnuson (100 hurdles) all won their respective events for LHS.
The LHS boys took second behind regional champ Olathe North with 83 points. The girls had 45 points, good enough for fifth.
"You want your kids to show up at big meets," Skakal said, "and we showed up big-time tonight. I was proud of our kids."
The state meet starts Friday at Wichita State.