Vaulting duo lead Hornets
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FAYETTEVILLE — Bryant sophomore pole vaulter Spencer McCorkel continues to scale new heights and break records. At the Arkansas Track Coaches Association Indoor Invitational meet at the Tyson Indoor Track facility at the University of Arkansas on Saturday, Feb. 19, McCorkel set a meet and state indoor all-time record by clearing 16 feet.
McCorkel, who recently received an invitation to the Nike National Invitational in Maryland March 12-13, and fellow vaulter Blake Zuber accounted for 18 points of the Hornets’ 32 points in the meet. Senior Steven Bright turned in a winning performance in the 800 meter run as the Hornets placed seventh in the 28-team meet.
McCorkel’s winning effort made him just the sixth vaulter in state history to reach the 16-foot barrier and the first to do it as a sophomore. In fact, no sophomore vaulter has ever reached the 15-foot barrier. The 16-foot vault is currently tied for fifth best in the nation.
Zuber cleared a personal best height of 14-6 to finish second to his teammate. That mark makes him eligible for a national ranking since 14-6 is the cutoff height.
“Spencer McCorkel continues to amaze,” declared Hornets head coach Steve Oury. “He has established himself as one of the best high school vaulters in the nation, which is almost unheard of for a sophomore. He will likely get invited to some big meets across the nation of the next couple of years, and he has earned that honor with his performances.
“He is truly dedicated to the pole vault and practices year ‘round,” Oury continued. “He works regularly with Morry Sanders, who is the state record-holder in the pole vault (16-7, set in 1988). Morry works with vaulters from all over the state and has been instrumental in Spencer’s success. Spencer is quite fortunate to have a mentor like Morry to help him. Coach Brad Stroud works with Spencer and Blake here on campus and does a great job. We are quite fortunate to have a couple of athletes like McCorkel and Zuber.
“While Spencer may have caught a lot of the attention Saturday, I’m looking for Zuber to continue to emerge,” added the coach. “He’s just getting his rhythm going after having an outstanding football season and he’s already jumping the best he ever has. He’s going to surprise some people.”
Bright’s winning time in the 800 meters was 2:03.66. Junior Chris Robinson also scored in the 800 at 2:09.05, good for eighth. That duo also combined with freshman Joey Fuoco and sophomore Alvin Rapien to turn in a sixth-place performance in the 3200 meter relay, finishing in 8:52.
“Steven Bright was solid in the 800 and really had no competition,” Oury noted. “I think that in two weeks (at the State Indoor Championships), he will be pushed a little harder, and hopefully Chris Robinson will be the one pushing him.
“Ethan Blakley was scheduled to compete in the 1600 and 3200 meter runs but was sidelined by the flu,” Oury mentioned. “He has a chance to score in the distance events at State if he continues to recover, but if not, I’m sure he will be ready to run in the outdoor season.”
The State Indoor championship meet will be back in Fayetteville on Saturday, March 5.