Heathwood Hall's Mac Whalen ended his stellar athletic career by winning a fourth consecutive pole vault state championship with a record leap at the SCISA track and field meet on Saturday.
It also marked the end of an era. Next year will be the first time since 2001 a SCISA pole vault champion will not be named Whalen.
The family dynasty began with the four-year reign of J.D. Whalen (2002-05) and ended with Mac Whalen's four-year run. In between, there was a win by Brett Whalen in 2006.
"I always looked up to J.D. and wanted to everything athletically that he did," said Mac, who also starred in football and basketball. "Getting four wins like he did and breaking his state record makes it pretty special."
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Mac broke J.D.'s record of 12 feet, 6 inches with a 13-1 in 2009. He updated the mark on the final vault of his career - a 13-2.5.
"I was really nervous today because I had to use a new pole and didn't have much time to get comfortable with it," he said. "I ended up going back to an old pole and as soon I was assured of first place (at 12-0), I went right for the record and was lucky enough to get it."
Whalen also competed in other events and helped the Highlanders finish second behind Wilson Hall, which won its fourth consecutive title and its sixth in seven years.
"Coming in we knew things would have to fall just right for us to have a chance," Highlanders coach John O'Cain said. "We had a great day in the field events, and a lot of PRs, but in the end Wilson Hall just had too much talent and depth."
Joseph English joined Whalen as a state champion, winning the triple jump.
The Highlanders pulled ahead of Wilson Hall 101-99 with three events to go when Mac and Morgan Whalen finished third and fourth, respectively, in the 400-meter hurdles. But the Barons scored big in the 800 and 200 events that followed and finished with a 140-109 victory.
The Barons pulled off the first boy-girl sweep since 2004, and the boys became the first Wilson Hall team to win a fourth consecutive SCISA championship.
"The boys were really motivated to be the first team to ever win four in a row," Barons coach Stacy Ard said. "And the girls have had an amazing season, considering we're so young. We had only two juniors and no seniors qualified today."