Hammond senior Madison Kocher looks to closer out her stellar pole vault career with an unprecedented fifth straight gold medal at the SCISA state track and field championship meet Saturday at Heathwood Hall.
Kocher’s run of dominance began as an eight-grader when she won the title with a vault of 7 feet, 6 inches after she finished in third place as a seventh grader in 2005. Her first win was by a margin of six inches. No one has been closer than 22 inches to Kocher since then. Last season, she broke her own state record with a vault of 10-6, and is eyeing the 11-foot barrier in her final prep outing.
Kocher headlines a solid group of Midlands athletes looking to defend state championships tomorrow. The list includes Heathwood Hall’s Carey Roth (800 and high jump), Emily Carson (100 hurdles), Arayael Brandner (shot put and discus) and Mac Whalen (pole vault), Hammond’s Mason Castles (1600), Margaret Deans Fawcett (3200) and Cliff Ayers (high jump) and Wilson Hall’s Trey Parker (1600 and 3200), Josh Jennings (800) and Ricky Crum (long jump).
Ayers is on the verge of picking up his fourth gold medal in high jump title, while Whalen, Parker (1600) and Crum are all looking to claim their third straight state titles in their specialty events.
Heathwood Hall’s girls team is the defending state champion, but will be pushed for top honors by cross-town rival Hammond. Wilson Hall is shooting for its fifth state title in six years.