TACOMA — Southridge's Marissa Berry was in danger of recording the dreaded no height Saturday during the Class 3A state track meet pole vault.
The junior had missed on her first two attempts at her opening height and appeared poised to have all of her hard work fall by the wayside.
But a quick breather on the runway made all the difference as she calmed down, soared over 11 feet and eventually won the state title, clearing 12 feet, 3 inches.
“I didn’t get nervous before the meet, so I think when I stepped on the runway, all the nerves hit me at once and it was overwhelming,” she said. “It is kind of intimidating when that (official) goes out there and says, ‘You are on the clock.’ They don't do that at every meet.
“The third (attempt), I just stood there for like 30 seconds and let me calm down and then I cleared it by 21⁄2 feet and I knew I was on the podium and it was all good.”
Berry had no more misses after the first two until she went out at 12-6.
The opening misses were out of character for the Southridge junior, who has dominated nearly every meet she has been at this season.
“I had a mental breakdown, was crying — I was mostly mad at myself for letting it get to my last attempt,” she said. “I felt like I kind of got my misses out of the way.”
She then calmed down and made up for a disappointing sophomore season where she failed to get out of the regional meet.
“It feels like everything is paying off,” she said. “It is nice to know that everything came together at the right time.
“It’s overwhelming, but it's nice to know that hard work does pay off.”
She hopes to go over 13 feet at some summer meets and then possibly even higher next spring during the track and field season.
The Southridge boys 4x100 relay team is also already looking forward to next season, as the entire group is juniors and took second in a school-record time of 42.55.
Conner Grigg, Masceo Ealy-Thomas, Brandon Zane and Tanner Pope made up the team.