By Chuck Reherman
GREENSBORO, NC – One jump.
That’s what Yukon’s Kyla Davis faced with two others in the pole vault competition in the girls 15-16 year-old division in the AAU Junior Olympics Wednesday at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro.
Davis earned a silver medal in the national meet, finishing second on made jumps on the competition.
Five vaulters had tied with a vault of 3.60 meters (11-feet, nine and three-quarters inches) and three made it to the jump off after the other two had misses along the way.
The jump-off was a one-jump scenario. Davis missed on her attempt and Alyssa Quinones-Mixon made hers to win the gold medal.
All had tried to clear 12-3.5 before the jump off.
“I feel I vaulted good,” Davis said. “I was doing better on bigger poles. Just didn’t have the right pole for that height. And yes I was really close.
“I was close on my first two attempts but on my third I got on a bigger pole and didn’t get into the pit,” she said. “Also I was going from seven lefts when I usually go from six.”
Davis who had not finished below first in any of her meets during the high school and the summer season was not disappointed in her performance, especially since it was on the national level.
“I am glad to get second,” Davis said. “I know I did good. Though I know I can jump much higher I was still glad to do as good as I did.”
There were 30 vaulters in the division and it was the tighest and strongest competition Davis had faced all year.
She passed until the 10-4 mark and easily cleared that height, then passed on 10-10. She cleared 11-3.75 on her first try and then made the 11-9.75 height on the first try. Quinones-Mixon and Kolby Weiss had also gone through the competition without a miss and five vaulters did clear 11-9.75, but two of them had previous misses.
“It was a tight competition,” Davis said. “There were five girls including me that we’re going for 12-3.5.”
Davis, who had won the region 16 title in Tulsa in June hadn’t planned on going to the Junior Olympics, but her mother Stephanie made the decision to go.
It will be one that will pay off for the younger Davis in the long run.
“I think this competition will help me in the future,” Davis said. “Now I have a better idea of what poles I will get on from a seven left and how well I can do from that longer run. I will have more confidence going into future competitions.
Yes I am very glad I made this trip,” she added. “I have had a lot fun. Plus I haven’t been to North Carolina before so that’s cool.”
Davis didn’t have a vault coach, but her mother and a friend Conner Sudduth, was there to help her make decisions. And, her father Jason, who didn’t make the trip, was kept updated on her progress and added his advice.
This was Kyla’s second national event. She competed in St. Louis after her freshman year in 2017.
“I was much more relaxed then I was in St Louis. Now I am more used to competition,” she said.