Reaching New Heights

C-P's Garrett heads back to state track meet with the goal of clearing her personal best

By JOSEPH ELERSON, News-Telegram Sports Writer

May 7, 2008 - COMO - After missing out on her personal best goal of clearing 10 feet in her first attempt at the UIL State Track and Field Championships last year, Como-Pickton junior Deanna Garrett will get another try this weekend.

Garrett will represent Como-Pickton at the state meet Saturday morning at Mike A. Myers Stadium on the University of Texas campus.

She will take part in the Class 2A pole vault at 9 a.m. Saturday after finishing second in the regional meet with a 9-9 effort. The regional track meet was held in Palestine April 25.

"It means a lot to me to go back," said Garrett, the daughter of Mark and Meg Garrett. "This whole year I have been having a really hard time, and I did not think that I would be going back this year. I am happy because I feel like I am carrying on the family tradition this time."

This year's championships will be a little different from last year as she will be the only CPHS representative in Austin. Senior Bethanie Stinson qualified last year in the distance events but was not able to advance this year.

"It is strange not having anyone with me," she said. "I feel sad that I could not bring another person to state to compete with for my school."

Garrett said with a No. 4 post position out of eight competitors in the finals, it will give her a chance to see how the first three jumpers do on Saturday.

She said the weather could play a factor in how she approaches her jumps in hopes of setting a personal best at 10-feet this year.

"I am looking to possibly go higher than that. I am definitely going to shoot for 10 feet and then go from there at the meet.

"With pole vaulting, you have to take in the factors of the weather and if you have a tail wind, face wind or a cross wind," she said. "You have to add in if it is cloudy or sunny, because the more sun you have the less stiff the pole is. The more cloudy it is, the more stiff the pole becomes and it can be helpful or hinder you."

With a new coach in George Rodriguez from Elite Vaulters in Fort Worth, she said her training outside of the school has become beneficial in returning to Austin.

"I am working on my core and I switched coaches this year," Garrett said. "My old coach is now a football coach at a Class 5A school in Austin and I am now working with a coach named George Rodriguez with Elite Vaulters. He told me I am strong and fast enough, but I need to work on my core. That is what I am doing and hopefully it will get me that 10 foot to 10-6.

"My coach said to me, 'We are going for blood. ' I am going into the meet looking to come back with a medal."

Notes: Garrett and Wallis Brazos' Shelbie Zotyka are the only returning Class 2A pole vaulters at the state meet this week. Zotyka won a bronze medal at the 2007 meet and has cleared 11 feet this season. ... George West's vaulter Amy Rabalias has also cleared 11 feet. ... Garrett is currently ranked seventh among the eight qualifiers with her clearance of 9-9.

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