Matt Rowland has used Bellevue’s track practices to work on the pole vault on three occasions the whole season.
Meets serve as practice and Rowland cleared 16 feet to surpass his own Division II district record in the event Friday.
“He doesn’t vault much during the week focusing on hurdles,” Redmen vault coach Shawn Beamer said.
Rowland, who will vault at Akron and holds the all-time Division II mark at 16-6.75, would appear to have the pole vault down. He missed clearing 16 on one try and was already expressing the need to switch to a bigger pole on the way down.
“I hit it on the way up,” he said. “With a bigger pole I’ll shoot up faster. I blew through the bar the first time. Knowing your equipment is important.
“Any day you jump 16 it’s a good day. I’m hoping for some better looks at 16-7. In time it will come.”
Rowland has 12 poles and each has a certain fit with flex and length for certain conditions or heights. There are more variables with longer poles and Rowland and Beamer work together to determine the best one for each vault.
His longest practice run-ups cover 62 feet while it could be 120 in competition. When Rowland does practice the vault, he works on his weaknesses so that when they’re corrected he sails even higher.
“When things go smooth he makes me look good,” Beamer said. “Matt is the most consistent jumper I’ve had. He knows his poles and he knows what to do. Ninety nine percent of the time he makes the right decision. He makes it look easy but he’s had years of it.”
Beamer has trained a Bellevue state champ in seven of the last 11 years in Kelly Beamer, Chad Beamer, Lee Miller and Rowland. Beamer teaches vaulting at Altitude Headquarters in Bellevue and eight of Wednesday’s competitors work with him. Five of the top six at regionals last season worked with Beamer.
Beamer is Rowland’s uncle. Rowland’s grandfather first got the family started in vaulting by trying to clear creeks and fences with tree saplings.
“Here we are, look where it ended up,” Beamer said. “He (William) got me started and it carried through. There’s some deep feelings about what Matt does and what Matt’s accomplished. It’s safe to say it’s in his blood. He has such a passion.
“Matt would love to have my dad here. My dad loved it. Something about this meet has always been special.”
Rowland also won his heat in the 110 hurdles to advance to Friday. There are correlations between Rowland’s events.
“When you get a multiple event athlete, all the running builds up strength for the end of the year,” Beamer said. “Hurdles creates a good run for the vault. You build stamina in hurdles and it carries over to the vault.
“Look at the points he’s scored and it looks like he’ll be the first over 1,00. He has 300 this year. He’s tall and he has a track body. His long legs come in handy for his longer events. And don’t tell him he can’t do something. He loves challenges.”
Bellevue’s Seth Agee was fifth in 110 hurdle prelims while Oak Harbor’s Chris Tabbert was seventh.
Bellevue’s Michaela Fox, Mariah McPeak, Kylie Vogel and Ericka Hosang won the 4X800 relay to qualify to regionals. Oak Harbor’s Anne Quisno, Athena Eli, Allie Dresser and Trinity Gephart were third.
Allie Jett, Karis DeWalt, Sidney Allen and Eli finished first in the 4X200 relay prelims for the Rockets while Jacqueline Turner, Dana Yeckley, Tara Rinner and Hilary Brown were sixth for the Lady Red.
Bellevue’s Sarah Bedel was second and Erica Carr sixth to advance to the finals in the 100 hurdles.
Oak Harbor’s Rebekah Rayburn tied for seventh in the 100 prelims.
Oak Harbor’s Cole Weirich was sixth in the 100 prelims.
Bellevue’s Jalen Santoro, Kyle Norman, Dylan Fultz and Rowland were third in the 4X200 relay prelims. Santoro, Agee, Alec Haynes and Travis Brake were fifth in the 4X100 relay prelims.
Bellevue’s Madison Scagnetti was fourth in 1,600 prelims, Gephart was fifth and Fox was 10th.
Bellevue’s Andrew Beier (14th) and Dylan Farmbrough (16th) advance to Friday in the 1,600.
Oak Harbor’s Allen, Allie Dombrowsky, Jett and Rayburn were first in the 4X100 prelims while Bellevue’s Turner, Laiken Tester, Kirsten Whaley and Brown were fifth.
Eli was seventh while teammate Cydney St. Clair was eighth in 400 prelims.
Bellevue’s Brandon Tobin was eighth in 400 prelims.
Bedell was third in 300 hurdle prelims while Dombrowsky was fourth.
Hosang was third in 800 prelims while Vogel was sixth, Dresser seventh and Quisno eighth.
Oak Harbor’s Tyler Sievert was third in the 800 prelims while Bellevue’s James Hickey was fourth and the Rockets’ Zach Seaman 16th.
Allen was second in 200 prelims while DeWalt was fifth.
Cecil, Jett, Dombrowsky and St. Clair were first in 4X400 prelims while Vogel, Rinner, Hosang and Bedell were second.
Rinner won the high jump while Oak Harbor’s Andrea Cecil was fourth.
Missler was third in the long jump finals.