The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Sports

April 27, 2013

Bartley wins pole vault gold on home track

ENID, Okla. — There’s no place like home.

Just ask Chisholm pole vaulter Delaney Bartley, who took the 3A girls regional championship on her home turf Saturday.

Bartley cleared her goal of nine feet in qualifying for the state meet for the second straight year.

“I’m feel really good, I’m so happy,’’ said the Lady Longhorn junior. “It really helps to have the support of the home crowd. I feel a lot more comfortable when I’m at home. I like practicing at this pit. I’m used to how it is.’’

Bartley and Lincoln Christian’s Hope Dabney both cleared nine feet, but Bartley won the gold with the fewest misses.

Dabney’s sisters, Miranda and Taylor, were first and third at last year’s state meet.

“It was kind of my goal to beat her,’’ Bartley said. “It was a confidence builder for me to beat her. I just wanted to clear nine feet today and I did. As long as I win, anything feels good.’’

Bartley just missed getting on the podium at state a year ago. She cleared nine feet, the same height as fifth-place finisher Sara Morrison of Caney Valley.

Bartley, though, ended up seventh because she had more misses than Morrison and Mallory Sykora of Marietta. That is a motivating factor for her at next week’s state meet at Ardmore.

“I was just trying to make it to state,’’ Bartley said. “It feels good about being the regional champion, but I really want to place at state. It was disappointing to come that close last year and not make it.’’

She has stepped up her goals for next week.

“I hope I can get in the top four,’’ Bartley said. “I would like to get over 9-6, but if I can get that, I would like to go 10 feet.’’

Bartley was not fazed by the cold temperatures with threatening skies Saturday.

“Every year, it either rains or it’s cold at regionals,’’ Bartley said. “It’s weird. When it’s bad weather like this, I just try to stay warm. That’s all I do. I go and sit in my sleeping bag.’’

She is a bit of a legacy. Her father, Steve, was an outstanding pole vaulter in his day at Enid High School.

“My brother was going to do it, but he hurt his back,’’ Delaney Bartley said. “My dad said come and try this for me and I did.’’

Dad still gives her tips, but she is becoming comfortable on her own.

“When it comes to the pole vault, I put more pressure on myself than anybody else,’’ she said. “It’s getting easier every year.’’

Yet, she still gets nervous, especially in regionals, where a bad day could end a promising season.

“You’re always a little nervous,’’ Bartley said. “I’m always a little scared I’m going to break the pole and hurt myself.’’

Bartley gets a rush, though, by being high in the air.

“That’s what I like best, when you get to a certain height and you’re flying down when you let go of the pole,’’ Bartley said.

“I would say a lot of pole vaulting is mental. You got to get over the fear or hurting yourself and you have to remember all the stuff you have to do when you’re in the air.’’

Bartley’s athleticism is an asset. She does the hurdles as well and her speed is a major reason for her success.

“You really want to have good speed in front of the mat,’’ Bartley said. “I try to take longer steps in the back.’’

Bartley has one pre-meet ritual. Before every meet, she has to drink a Red Bull.

“It’s just my thing,’’ Bartley said. “It gives me more energy.’’

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