Kasey Fisher remembers the pain of competing in the triple jump and long jump, while also running a few races, during her junior year.
"My knees would be sore afterward, so I wanted to find some other event where I could compete without hurting my knees," the Hughson High senior said. "Pole vault looked like it might be fun, so I went to the Reno Pole Vault Summit this winter and I really enjoyed it."
Fisher was only clearing 8 feet or so her first month this season, but her improvement during the last six months earned her a second-place finish at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Meet Thursday at Modesto Junior College.
The top six finishers in each event advance to next week's Masters Meet at Hughes Stadium in Sacramento.
While the pole vault was new for Fisher, it's long been a family favorite.
"My dad, Ed Fisher, was also a pole vaulter for Hughson, so he was excited when he found out I wanted to vault," said Fisher, who also was third in the 100-meter hurdles, fourth in the triple jump and fifth in the 300 hurdles. "I'm 5-5, 120 pounds, so I've got the right build for a vaulter."
Fisher hopes to continue her vaulting career next year at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore.
"I'm going to study exercise science, so I think vaulting would be a great thing to get involved in," she said.
While it was Fisher's first year in the pole vault, she was a veteran compared to Central Valley high jumper Mark Bejaran. A senior, he joined the Hawks' track team this spring so he could spend more time with his buddies, Ross Henry and Trevor Mew.
"Trevor decided he was going to do track, and I thought it would be great for the three of us to do it together," Bejaran said. "What I've found in the high jump is adrenaline gets you higher than you thought you could go."
Bejaran proved his point, jumping a personal best of 6-4 to finish a surprising second. Bejaran knew there was little chance of victory -- Highlands' Darius Bell went 6-7 -- but that didn't bother him.
"I wasn't expecting to be here, so this is just great," said Bejaran, whose previous best was the 6-3 he cleared in Tuesday's trials. "I'm disappointed Ross wasn't here. This should be his spot, but he's been sick the last few weeks and didn't make it out of the league meet."
Livingston's Albert Millan is bringing a championship medal back home after setting a personal best and a school record by heaving the shot put 54-3. His previous best was 52-11 and the school record was 53-3.
"I woke up this morning knowing that I was going to set the school record," said Millan, a junior whose rigorous weight training has produced thick, solid thighs. "I get the strength from my legs. I do lunges in the weight room, which demands a lot from my legs, and I can do about 405 pounds."
Millan hit 52-8 on his first throw and that mark was still the best -- by more than two feet -- going into his final throw. "My coach told me to relax and go out there and throw a big PR," Millan said. "I had already won. He said 'Just have fun throwing.' "
Oakdale's Jaci Powell also celebrated with a title, winning the triple jump -- the last event of the night -- at a distance of 35 feet.