New pole launches Jackson vaulter into first place at Central Relays

Sunday, April 20, 2008
KIT DOYLE ~ Jackson's Jordan Whitener competed in the pole vault Saturday in the Cape Relays at the Abe Stuber Track and Field Complex.

Speed, strength and technique are three important factors in the pole vault.

And it doesn't hurt to have good equipment.

Jackson sophomore Jordan Whitener credited the school's new poles for making the difference as she vaulted over the bar at 8 feet and past rookie rivals Jill Schnurbusch and Allie Job from Notre Dame.

Whitener sailed over 8-0 on her first attempt to post her season high and equal the personal best she set in her freshman year. She missed on three cracks at 8-6.

How did she reach new heights?

"The new poles," she said. "They just came in, so we had no practice with them and this is our first meet with them. They're easier to control. It's a little bit lighter and more flexible.

"It was a little nerve-racking," she said of breaking in the new equipment, "but going over 8 feet was really exhilarating. I got through it, and now I can keep improving. Hopefully I'll be able to get even higher. ... It's possible."

Rachel Burchyett handed off to Central's Brittany Moreland for the anchor leg of Central's 3,200-meter relay team. The Tigers took first place Saturday

Whitener, who added a fifth-place finish in the 3,200 meters, said her track work comes into play a little bit — "All your power comes from your speed, so if you haven't got enough speed, you won't be able to jump high" — but added the pole vault is more about mental concentration.

"You have to be able to concentrate on every little detail and have control of everything," Whitener said.

With Schnurbusch and Job both clearing 7-6 again, Notre Dame finished just ahead of Jackson in the team vaulting.

The two juniors are in their first year of vaulting, so they weren't too sure about the new pole business.

KIT DOYLE ~ Jackson's Blake Peiffer spun to propel the shot put Saturday, April 19, 2008, in the Cape Relays at the Abe Stuber Track and Field Complex.

"We're learning more," Job said. "We're starting to learn how to bend the pole."

"This is a lot of technique," said Schnurbusch, who added that most of their practice time is spent on vaulting.

Job and Schnurbusch also long jump, and they combined with Kristen Oberlohr to finish third in the team long jump standings.

More vaulting

Jackson's boys trio of Garrett Stone, Micah Nickelson and Jerrett Schwab combined to place first in the team vaulting at 32-6. Stone and Nickelson both cleared 11-6.

Jackson also had the top shot put trio as Andrew Lysell placed first overall with a throw of 48-6. Blake Peiffer tossed a 44-5, and Jake Wolpers added a 41-3. The Indians did it without one of their top athletes, Jacob Bullinger, who was competing at the Kansas Relays.

The only other boys first-place finish came from Notre Dame's 3,200-meter relay, which overcame a deficit of more than 100 meters in the final two legs to beat Murphysboro. They also finished 2 seconds ahead of Malden, avenging a narrow loss to the Green Wave eight days earlier in Sikeston.


Central's Veronica Schabbing set a meet record in the 3,200 with a time of 11:46.72, breaking a 21-year-old standard by more than 7 seconds.

Schabbing already this year had a mark of 11:38.69, which was 16 seconds better than her top time of a year ago.

"She has had better times this year, but this was a good race," Central assistant coach Mark Hahn said. "Once a week we run a push pace, and right now, she's working on an 11:30 pace, so her body knows what that feels like."

Running against pace came in handy Saturday, as Schabbing was well ahead of the field and won by more than 20 seconds.

"Sometimes it's kind of hard because you're by yourself and don't have anyone to compete with," she said.

"It's just hard to run faster than you've ever ran before if you're running by yourself," Hahn added.

Schabbing nearly was part of another record-breaking run as Central's distance medley foursome of Rachel Burchyett (800 meters), Rita Walter (400), Schabbing (1,200) and Brittany Moreland (1,600) covered 4,000 meters in 13:10.63. The record, set by Central in 2002, is 13:10.22.

Central's girls also won the meet-opening 3,200 relay and meet-ending 1,600 relay.

"Our girls middle-distance and distance is as deep as we've ever been," Hahn said.

Rock, chalk, track talk

A number of notable athletes missed the meet for reasons ranging from conflicting extra-curricular activities to college orientations, but Jackson had a number of top performers completing Saturday at the Kansas Relays in Lawrence.

Sophomore Jill Rushin was fifth in the discus with a season's best mark of 134-3. She also was 17th in the shot put with a mark of 36-3 and 16th in the javelin.

Sophomore Landon Wachter was fifth in the 400 meters in 58.40 seconds and 12th in the 800 in 2:22.71. Her 400 time surpassed Scott City's Stephanie Essner for the fastest in Southeast Missouri this year.

Senior Heather Hileman tied for 17th in the high jump by clearing 5-0, just 4 inches below the winning mark.

In the boys competition, Jacob Bullinger was sixth in the discus (156-4).

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