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Northside girls hang on

Heidi Jensen began pole vaulting on a coach's whim two years ago.

Next week, the Keswick Christian senior will have one more chance to turn that whim to gold at states.

Tuesday, Jensen took the first-ever Class 2A, South I regional titles in the pole vault and 300 hurdles, and finished second in the 100 hurdles, to qualify for all three events in the 2A/3A state track meet in Gainesville on May 8.

Teammate Robin Wedekind added two titles (discus and shot put) and Christa Benton had a win and a second (3,200 and 1,600, respectively) to lead Keswick's girls to a second-place finish behind county foe Northside Christian, which used its overwhelming depth to earn it's first regional title.

Northside's boys were the runners-up to Moore Haven, who squashed the rest of the pack by more than 60 points. Admiral Farragut's boys finished third.

Jensen, who has done every event except the 800, 1,600, and 3,200 over the last four years, first tried to vault during the second-to-last meet of her sophomore season. Her coach told her to go for it, so she borrowed a pole and finished third out of four.

She improved last year to finish fifth at state (and fourth in the 300 hurdles) last year, and her goals for next week are to leap 9 feet (her best this year is 8-6) and improve her times in the hurdles.

"I don't know what place (my times) will put me in I just want to improve," she said.

Courtney Gabler won Northside's lone girls' title (in the 100), but the Mustangs qualified for state slots in all but four other events.

Bear Johnson (pole vault) and George Roth (3,200) earned boys' titles for Northside. The Mustang boys qualified for seven other state slots, and Farragut earned four state spots.

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