May 18 in Bryant athletic history: 2005

Snapped pole undermines McCorkel’s record bid

EDITOR’S NOTE: In this time of COVID-19, with no sports action, will be posting past stories of Bryant athletics either posted on (from 2009 to the present) or published in the Bryant Times (from 1998 to 2008).

PEARCY — Though the expected assault on the Class AAAAA State meet record in the pole vault didn’t materialize due to an injury to sophomore sensation Spencer McCorkel, the Bryant Hornets qualified three athletes for the Meet of Champs on the basis of their performances at the State meet.

Senior pole vaulter Blake Zuber, senior Steven Bright and sophomore Ethan Blakley earned bids to the Meet of Champs, leading the Hornets to an 11th place finish in the 26-team field at Lake Hamilton High School on Wednesday, May 18. Zuber and Bright earned all-State honors.

McCorkel, who vaulted the unprecedented height of 17 feet earlier in the year, never got to compete after a pole snapped in half during a practice vault. He suffered a cut on his left hand that required 14 stitches. His 17-foot vault would be a state record but state standards can only be set in State meets.

Zuber, who had cleared 15 feet earlier in the year, made it over 14-6 at State, good for a second-place finish to earn his trip to the Meet of Champs which was set to take place on Wednesday, May 25, at Hot Springs High School.

Bright earned his trip to the Meet with a second-place finish in the 800 meter run, finishing in 1:57.56. Blakley goes on the strength of his fourth-place finish in the 3200. He ran a 10:03.3.

“Obviously, Spencer’s accident was a shock to everyone,” commented Hornets head coach Steve Oury. “I just hate it for him because he has worked so hard and has really been looking forward to this meet. The only blessing in a situation like this is that he is only a sophomore and will have two more years to break records. Also, he should be recovered in time to still compete in the Golden West Invitational and the Nike Outdoor National Championships in June.

“I thought the rest of the guys did a great job,” Oury added. “Zuber was close to winning the pole vault and all of the runners who competed ran personal records in their event. Steven Bright was only two-hundredths of a second away from winning the 800, which is heartbreaking, but he will have a chance to come back and get revenge in the Meet of Champs. Ethan Blakley finishing fourth in the 3200 was remarkable considering he’s been battling knee problems along with ear and sinus infections.”

The Hornets also gained points in the 1600 meter run with Chris Robinson’s personal best time of 1:59.53 good for sixth. The 1600 meter relay team of Ryan King, Robinson, Zach Barnes and Bright picked up seventh-place points with a season-best 3:29.99 clocking.

“We have to be pleased with finishing 11th with such a relatively small team,” Oury noted. “We were hoping for top 10, and if Spencer could have vaulted we would have probably been ninth. Regardless, I’m proud of all of them. They left everything they had out on the track.” 

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