Flying Finn Sallinen Vaults 16-4 3/4

Esa Sallinen of Burroughs High, a senior exchange student from Finland, cleared 16 feet 4 3/4 inches in the pole vault in the Foothill League track and field finals Wednesday at Birmingham High.

Taking advantage of a persistent tail wind, Sallinen cleared 13-0, 14-0, 15-0, 16-0 and the magical--for him--five-meter height (16-4 3/4) on his first attempts before missing three times at 16-8.

"This is unbelievable," Sallinen said. "Five meters has been a big goal of mine for a long time. I've been chasing that mark for the last two years."

Sallinen, whose previous best was 16-0 1/4, moved to fourth on the all-time regional list and to second on this season's state list behind Scott Slover (17-0) of San Jose Leland High.

In other events, Hart's Jason Medearis won the 110-meter high hurdles (14.2 seconds) and 300 intermediates (37.8), and Canyon's Mike Wenz won the 800 in a region-leading time of 1:54.4.

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