CLOVIS -- Adjustments must be made at the CIF State Track and Field Championships.
Glossing through on talent won't get it done on the State Meet's first day, where a finals berth must be earned. Adjustments are a must -- for the broiling heat, the nerves jangling your insides and, of course, the predictable pressure.
Golden Valley pole vaulter Steven Pust adjusted. That's why he'll compete for a state title tonight.
Pust, the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters champion, maxed out a tailwind and cleared 15 feet, 6 inches on his first try. Only one vaulter reached higher.
"Anything can happen now," he said.
Pust, vaulting at dusk on a day that fried thermometers at 103 degrees only a few hours before, opened with a first clearance of 14-6. He missed once at 15 feet, however, and so came the adjustments.
"I had to move back (on the runway) because of the tailwind," he said. "It was just like (Sac-Joaquin Section) divisionals two weeks ago with that tailwind."
He remembered that day at Elk Grove when he scaled 16 feet (16-1) for the first time. Two weeks later, he moved back three full steps from where he started the day, then flew over 15-6 to punch his ticket for tonight.
"I just wanted to shock people and show them the Northern California vaulters are not second to the southern," Pust said. "I'm right up in the thin air with them."
Pust was the only area athlete to extend his season to the last day. Junior Dallas Hoofard, the first Awater hurdler to reach State in 19 years, placed 16th overall in the 300 hurdles. His time of 38.84 missed his PR by only one-hundredth of a second.
Buhach Colony freshman Brandy Coward was watery-eyed after she failed to advance in the 200 (25.41).
"I'm disappointed I didn't make it, but as a freshman, I'm happy I got this far," Coward said. "I need a little more practice."
Livingston senior Aldo Guzman, the runner-up at Masters, threw the discus 156-5 sandwiched by two fouls -- his best last week was 168-1 -- and failed to advance.
Bee staff writer Ron Agostini can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2302.