CLOVIS Davis senior Ian Rock was a three-ring attraction at the CIF State Track and Field Championships at Buchanan High School, though only two were officially recognized on the medal stand.
Rock soared to a state championship in the pole vault, launching 16 feet, 2 inches into the rainy sky. Rock leaped to a sixth-place finish in the long jump final, with a best of 22-13/4.
Most impressive of all, Rock sprinted 50 yards in world-class time from one final event to the other, which ran concurrently at the start of the championship rounds. That's two medals and track speed to spare.
"The rain, I wasn't too worried about," Rock said an hour after he won the pole vault, when he finally slowed down long enough to talk. "Wind, I can handle. It was more doing two events, and running back and forth and being too tired to finish a jump. That was the scary part."
Jesuit senior Stephen Boals was the other local double medalist, taking fifth in the shot put (57-10) and sixth in the discus (171-1).
Other area medalists included Davis senior Trevor Halsted (third in the 3,200 meters at 8 minutes, 51.96 seconds); Granite Bay senior Katie Zingheim (third in the pole vault at 12-4); Elk Grove junior Nick Martinez (third in the 300 hurdles at 38.00); Granite Bay senior Kevin Nielsen (sixth in the high jump at 6-5); and Kennedy senior Breonntae Snelling (sixth in the 100 at 10.81).
None of the athletes diversified their portfolio the way the Duke-bound Rock, a future decathlete, did.
Rock took three practice long jumps and three official leaps. He was on the long jump runway getting ready to take off when his name was announced with the pole vault finalists, all of whom were line up to start on the other side of the track's infield.
"I just put up my fist," Rock said, as opposed to giving the customary wave of the cupped hand to the crowd.
He took his first three long jumps, going farthest on the first, and had three more passes to make when paging Rock, Ian. Your turn at the pole vault, like, this instant.
"I booked it over from the long jump, had three minutes, and I was on the runway for the pole vault," Rock said. "So I didn't have a lot of time. That was scary."
Rock failed to clear his first vault at 14-6, but he did so on the second. It took two vaults to clear 15 feet, a terrifying third to top 15-6 and two more to best 15-10. He was the only vaulter to clear 16-2, and that on his first try. Three more failed attempts at 16-5, just to see how high he could climb, put him at 13 vaults.
How exhausted was Rock? After his final vault, he jogged not sprinted back to the long jump event, where officials were waiting for him to finish. Rock had no idea where he stood after all that time away.
They told him he was sixth good for the last spot on the medal stand and needed to go 22-10 to move up a step.
By the way, the girls long jump competition was waiting for him to hurry up and finish so they it could begin.
"I knew that wasn't going to happen because of how tired I was," Rock said. "I said, 'You know what? I'll pass on my last jump. Let the girls go.' "
Zingheim hoped to make it a local sweep of pole vault titles, but the state leader finished third for the second consecutive year after finishing one foot below her season best.
She admitted third only felt good the first time around.
Compare that feeling to Halsted, who was thrilled to finish third in the 3,200 after sitting seventh with one lap to go. He made a lap-seven push into first and took back the lead out of the final turn before finishing third.
"With one lap to go, I thought, 'Why not?' " Halsted said. "I needed to take the chance sometime. It obviously didn't pan out, but I'm happy."