Girls Varsity Track · Huckstep qualifies for state in pole vault

LAFAYETTE — After missing the State Finals by one place as a sophomore, Tuesday night’s Lafayette Jefferson Regional was one that Western Boone junior Grace Huckstep had circled on her calendar.

All the hard work and motivation from last year’s best miss paid off, as Huckstep finished third in the pole vault with a state standard of 11-feet-6-inches and qualified for State Meet on June 1.

“I am really excited,” Huckstep said. “This will be my first time going to state and I was so close last year and that was so disappointing. I have a lot of high expectations this year and to be going to state is really exciting.”

Huckstep was cruising through the early part of the meet, and hit the state standard height of 11-feet-2-inches on her first attempt.

She was smiling as soon as she cleared the bar and let out a little cheer as she got off the mat.

“The fact that I got it on the first attempt was really nice,” Huckstep said. “I had struggled a little bit at the end of the year and was only getting 11-feet a couple times. The fact that I got it on my first attempt with no misses was nice, but I have high expectations for myself.”

While happy with her performance, Huckstep knows she has more in the tank.

She has jumped as high as 12-feet this year and knows she will have to be on her ‘A’ game next week.

“It’s nice to not coming out of here as a regional champ and knowing I can be better,” Huckstep said. “Next week is the one that counts and everything so far this year has just been a qualifier.”

With now more than 10 days before the state finals, Huckstep said that she doesn’t plan on changing her routine at all heading into state.

“I am just going to treat it like any other meet,” Huckstep said. “I am going to stick with my normal workouts. I only jump twice a week, and I don’t want to over do it now. I am going to keep my same routine and do my best next week.”

Also competing for Western Boone on Tuesday was freshman Audrey Knoper, who placed 10th in the 3,200-meter run in a time of 11:51.07.