It took a third-generation pole vaulter to keep Connor Curley from winning a state title.
Curley wrapped up his high school career at Terre Haute North with a second-place finish in the pole vault at Saturday’s IHSAA Boys Track and Field State Finals.
He finished behind Penn’s Kyle Johnston, whose father, Robb, and grandfather, Jim, won the title at Hobart.
“Second place is all right, I guess; the guy who won was a third-generation jumper, so that’s amazing,” Curley said.
Curley’s best vault was 15 feet, 3 inches; Johnston hit 16-1, a number Curley was eager to hit himself.
“I really wish I got 16 feet today,” Curley said. “That’s what I planned on getting coming in; I just didn’t jump to my full potential.”
Curley acknowledged it didn’t help his cause when a light rain began to fall as he prepared to jump — “that really didn’t help out a whole lot” — but he said it didn’t affect his mentality.
“I really don’t psych myself out like a lot of athletes do,” Curley said. “I try not to worry about it, but in some conditions it really does bother you.
“Second place in state is not bad. I can deal with that.”
Also earning a podium finish on Saturday was South senior Nick Jaeger, who placed third in the high jump with a best jump of 6-7.
Roncalli’s Will Schott won the state title with a best jump of 6-8, which Jaeger was hoping to reach.
“I was really hoping for first today,” Jaeger said. “I’ve been hitting 6-8 consistently, except regionals. I was hoping to get 6-9 today, ended up not getting it.”
Previous poor performances had an effect on Jaeger, he admitted.
“It’s all been in my head,” he said. “I did bad here last year, and regionals, I was scared.
“I did better than I thought I was going to do. … I was hoping for at least top-5, and I got third.”
The Valley’s other podium finish came in the 3,200, where South sophomore Jackson Bertoli finished in eighth place in 9:09.81.
Bertoli cut almost nine seconds off his seed time, but no one was going to catch North Central’s Futsum Zienasellasie, who won his fourth straight 3,200 state title with a state record time of 8:51.15 on Saturday.
Zienasellasie became just the third boys track and field athlete in state history to win an event four times, joining Gary Froebel’s Amos Abrams (220-yard hurdles) and Anderson’s Eugene Yates (880-yard dash).
South almost had a third podium finish, with junior Tyler Seibert finishing 10th in the 400.
Lawrence Central won the team title handily, with 78 points. Hamilton Southeastern was second with 53.5 points.
IHSAA state finals
Team scores — 1. Lawrence Central 78, 25. Terre Haute South 9, t26. Terre Haute North 8.
Pole vault — 1. Kyle Johnston, Penn, 16-1, 2. Connor Curley, Terre Haute North, 15-3.
Long jump — 1. Jeron Brown, Lawrence Central, 23-7, 28. Kenton Helton, Linton, 19-4.5
Discus — 1. Langston Newton, Carmel, 192-9, 16. Larry Davis, Terre Haute North, 153-4.
High jump — 1. Will Schott, Roncalli, 6-8, 3. Nick Jaeger, Terre Haute South, 6-7.
Shot put — 1. Langston Newton, Carmel, 61-2.
3200 relay — 1. Carroll (Fort Wayne) 7:41.29, 22. Terre Haute North (Cole Seward, Nathan Moshos, Grant Potts, Peter Davis), 8:12.07.
110 hurdles — 1. Zach Bray, Hamilton Southeastern, 14.01, 20. Grant Stamm, Linton, 15.36.
100 — 1. Jermaine Parrish, New Albany, 10.67.
1,600 — 1. Jason Crist, Franklin Central, 4:09.12, 23. Andrew Kump, West Vigo, 4:26.65, 25. Logan Hambrock, Terre Haute South, 4:29.83.
400 relay — 1. Penn, 41.76.
400 — 1. Jeron Brown, Lawrence Central, 48.08, 10. Tyler Seibert, Terre Haute South, 49.56.
300 hurdles — 1. Da Quan Brown, Lawrence Central, 37.49, 19. Cole Seward, Terre Haute North, 40.22.
800 — 1. Gary Austin, Pike, 1:52.17, 18. Joseph Rumley, Cloverdale, 1:56.71, 26. Riley Stohler, Riverton Parke, 2:02.07.
200 — 1. Lucas Wallace, Lafayette Jeff, 21.70.
3200 — 1. Futsum Zienasellassie, North Central, 8:51.15*, 8. Jackson Bertoli, Terre Haute South, 9:09.81.
1600 relay — 1. Fort Wayne North, 3:16.95, 21. Terre Haute North (Cameron Quinn, Maciej Tomaszeswki Jr., Cameron Stewart, Cole Seward) 3:27.62, 23. Terre Haute South (Jermaine Smith, Stewart Dagnon, Tyler Seibert, Jeremy Patterson) 3:28.84.