Joe Davidson

How 'Air Sondre' made CIF State track history and how his Norway roots played a role

Sondre Guttormsen of Davis High School set the CIF State meet record in the pole vault on Saturday night in Clovis.
Sondre Guttormsen of Davis High School set the CIF State meet record in the pole vault on Saturday night in Clovis.

Sondre Guttormsen's home town is in Ski, Norway, just south of the capital city of Olso.

It's a long way from home, but Yolo County has a sudden soft spot for the Davis High School senior, who on Saturday night offered up one more sizzling effort to add to his remarkable story.

The UCLA-bound senior won the CIF State Track and Field Championship pole vault, clearing 17 feet, 10 inches. Guttormsen blew away the field by at least two feet and set the state-meet record, which is something considering this is the 100th anniversary meet, starting in 1915 with a three-year hiatus during World War II in the 1940s.

Guttormsen attempted to break his own state record of 18-3 three times but just missed, though he was impressed with a crowd that was pulling for him. His electrifying 18-2.5 effort in the Arcadia Invitational in April set the state record and the Norwegian Junior National mark (the national prep record is 18-4.75, set by Chris Nilsen of Oak Park High in Kansas in 2016).

Since gaining CIF clearance as a foreign exchance student earlier in the spring, "Air Sondre has cleared 17 feet a stunning 11 times. And for good measure, he on Saturday managed to finish second in the 110 hurdles in 14.02 seconds while also doing his early vaults.

"Fun day," he said with a grin. "I had a lot of fun. I'm glad I came back. Vaulting is the same here as it is any where. It's the same bar height and it's the same pit. It's always fun."

Guttormsen was born in Davis in 1999, when his father Atle spent a year in town studying abroad at UC Davis on an economic PhD. The family moved back to Norway when Guttormsen was an infant, then return in 2010 for a year when his dad had a sabbatical.

Now it's on to UCLA - after a brief return to Norway.

Guttormsen joins good regional company as CIF State pole vault winners, and his effort is an example of progress.

Vance Wilbur of Sacramento High won the vault in 1917 at 11-0. Tim Helms of El Dorado won in 1956 at 13-6, Wayne Meyers of Foothill won in 1966 at 15-0.75, Tom Lindsay of La Sierra won at 1970 at 14-10.5, Clarence Phelps of Christian Brothers won in 1992 at 16-0, Ryan Shuler of Granite Bay won in 2003 at 16-0 and Scott Roth three-peated for Granite Bay, clearing 16-4, 17-1, 16-11.

In 2015, Austin Laut of Oak Ridge won at 15-9.

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