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Hodges vaults her way to TAAF state title, personal best

Lady Lion senior reaches new heights in San Antonio
After dominating the competitive field at the Region VII TAAF Track and Field Meet in Frisco a couple of weeks ago, surely the going would get tougher for incoming Lady Lion senior Lauren Hodges at the TAAF State Track Meet in San Antonio on Friday.
Truth be told, Hodges owned the 18U girls’ pole vault once again, but she raised the ante by setting a new personal best.
In search of gold at the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation event, Lauren brought her A-game as she topped out at 10’6” and was the lone athlete remaining in the mix down the stretch.
The amazing thing was Lauren didn’t know for sure if she’d even be able to compete in the days leading up to state.
“I really felt bad earlier in the week and didn’t know if I’d be able to go, but my dad had me go out and run on Thursday night to see if I was okay,” Hodges said.
“After that, I knew I’d be fine.”
Opening at a relatively easy height of 7’6”, Hodges set the tone for her special day with perfect form and an easy clearance.
“The wind was kind of squirrelly when the sun came out; I wanted an opening mark so I could feel safe and just vault,” Hodges said.
“I skipped to 8’6” because I was so far over the opening height, and I cleared it easily too. When they called my name for 9’ I realized I was the only vaulter left. All the pressure came off my shoulders, and I decided right there that I was going to break my ‘curse’ and get over 10’6”.”
Lauren said being the last woman standing early in the competition was great because it let her vault at her own pace.
More importantly, the Lady Lion knew she was the state champion with a lot of attempts still ahead.
Hodges cleared 9’, 9’6” and 10’ all on her first try.
“It was kind of neat being the only one left, once I made it over 10’ they let me move up by three-inch increments, which I think really helped me,” she said.
Upon clearing 10’3” in her first attempt, a yell erupted from the Ennis vaulter on the mat – her “curse” had been broken. Having topped out at 10’ in every single track meet of the Lady Lion ’08 season, Lauren was on a roll and venturing into new territory at the South Texas meet.
“I’d been at 10’ so long; I was just ready to get past it,” she said.
“The wind was at my back, which helped.”
Clearing 10’6” took a couple of attempts, yet over she went once again.
At 10’9”, Lauren finally met her match – at least for now.
“I was gassed; my form fell apart and I was hitting the bar on the way up,” she said.
“We’re very proud of Lauren; she’s worked hard this summer and earned this accomplishment,” said Lauren’s mom Kari Hodges, who was on hand to see the Lady Lion pick a great time to set a new personal standard.
With the 10’ barrier behind her and a summer state title in the bag, Lauren can flash forward to Ennis’ 2009 track and field season thinking about what great achievement she’ll deliver next.
“Getting past my old mark allows me to look ahead at going higher,” she said.
“It’s exciting to think about [the spring] season and hopefully going past 10’ will never be a problem for me again.”
Leave it to a pole-vaulting champ to set the bar high.

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Posted by on Jul 28 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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