CLOVIS — When Mater Dei High senior Scott Cook began practicing the pole vault four years ago, he was aware it was a dangerous event in track and field.
There were times when the Newport Beach resident experienced some scary attempts at clearing the bar. But then again he said he has had so many successful vaults he just blocked out the frightening ones.
There was no reason to be afraid Saturday at Buchanan High in Clovis. He won the CIF State championship in the pole vault, clearing 16 feet, 3 inches, a personal record.
Corona del Mar High senior Marisa Cummings medaled in the 3,200-meter race. She finished sixth in 10 minutes, 33.07 seconds.
"I knew I could do it," Cook said during a telephone interview shortly after winning the CIF title. "At the start of the season, I never thought I could be here. But halfway through the season, I believed I could do it. I knew I would have to be on my game and I was. I just came in real focused. There was no messing around."
Cook said winning the state title proved to be a, "confidence boost," as he begins his college career at UCLA in the fall. He went to Carden Hall in Newport Beach kindergarten through the eighth grade. At Mater Dei, he said he was looking for a spring sport and found just the right one when he tried the pole vault.
"My first time doing the pole vault, it was definitely nothing like I had ever tried before," he said. "I just stuck with it and worked hard at it."
Cummings, bound for Princeton, saw her hard work pay off in Clovis. She improved in the 3,200 meters toward the end of the season.
She dropped 27 seconds off her personal best when she finished second (10:34.97) in CIF Southern Section Division II May 22.
The very next week she went lower, finishing in 10:25.67, to take fifth at the CIF Southern Section Masters meet.
Molly Grabill of Rancho Bernardo won the 3,200 in 10:20.25. CdM senior Melanie Powers, headed to Wake Forest, finished 25th in 11:22.26.
Newport Harbor senior Jake Taylor, bound for Princeton, finished eighth in the shot put, with a mark of 56 feet, 11 3/4 inches.
Matt Darr from Frontier of Bakerfield won after his 63-9 3/4 shot.
"It was unbelievable," Taylor said of competing in the state meet. "It was a great way to end my season. That was the goal from day one. I got there and it feels pretty good."
— From staff reports