It was a hot, hot day at the GPS track Friday afternoon as the Best of Preps meet was held for high school athletes in Hamilton County and surrounding areas.
In a meet where no team scores were kept, winning times were somewhat slower because of the temperatures in the mid 90s when the meet got started at 4:30.
Despite the heat, there were three records broken during the competition.
Baylor sophomore Kate Kaufman broke the mark in the girls pole vault while Bradley's James Stovall rewrote the standard in the boys triple jump.
And with speedster Destinee Lansden running the anchor leg, the GPS girls broke the existing mark in the 800 relay.
Kaufman has only been vaulting for a couple of years, but she's steadily gotten better and it showed Friday afternoon.
And to think she did it with a borrowed pole. One that she had ordered wasn't the right size, so her father Julian spent most of the day Thursday locating one she could use. It didn't seem to hinder her effort one bit as she smashed the old record by more than a foot.
She already had first place locked up when she took aim at the meet record of 9-6, which had been held by Crissy Singer of GPS in 2006 and tied by Baylor's Taylor Davidson in 2009.
Kaufman cleared 10-6 on her third attempt before doing the same at 10-9. She then had three tries at 11-3, but was unable to master that height.
Her goal was to break the meet record and she was smiling from ear to ear once she accomplished it.
"That was pretty awesome as I'm really happy," she said after completing her fourth attempt in the triple jump.
"I'm really happy to win and get the record. I was comfortable with the borrowed pole and felt like I might have a shot at 11-3, but I got tired at the end," she said after vaulting 14 times.
Bradley's Stovall, who has already committed to play football at the U.S. Naval Academy, broke the boys triple jump mark by more than a foot as he measured 46 feet, 10 inches on his final attempt of the day.
Like Kaufman, he already had first place locked up before he unleashed his record-breaker. His previous best had been 45-9.5 while the old meet record of 45-9.25 had been set by Bradley's Lamar Thompson in 2004.
"I'm such a competitive person that I sometimes get stressed out with all the pressure I put on myself. Coach Cotton just told me to relax and I did exactly that. The key was for me to stay focused, but I knew I had a good one when I took off. I was hoping it would be 47 feet.
"I already had first place, so it was a free jump. I just let it go," Stovall said.
The GPS foursome of Izzy Phillips, Jalesa Poindexter, Akia Harris and Lansden posted a time of 1:43.57 in winning the 800 relay, erasing the old standard of 1:45.03 that had been set by Red Bank in 2010.
Lansden was also the anchor leg on the winning 400 relay and probably would have won the 200. She was ready to take aim on that mark as well before getting a cramp in her calf as she settled into the starting blocks. GPS coach Stacey Hill pulled her at that point to avoid possibly hurting it worse.
"We're just trying to get ready for the state meet, so this was a nice tuneup for our region meet," said Hill after the final relay had ended.
"Our throwers were disappointed that some of their distances weren't what they wanted, but we're still improving. We got school records in both the 400 and 800 relays, so it was a good day for us. We just want to qualify as many for the state as possible since you can't score if you don't," Hill added.
There were several double winners during the meet, including Central's Chancis Jones, Red Bank's Kameno Watson and Simone Busby of GPS.
Jones won the long jump at 18 feet, 3.5 inches before taking first in the triple jump at 36-4.5.
Watson was the best in the 100 and 200 dashes with times of 11.25 and 22.34 seconds, respectively, while Busby won the shot put with a best throw of 38 feet, 4.5 inches and then the discus with a measurement of 116 feet, four inches.
The Bradley boys had the most first places among the guys with five while McCallie had three. Baylor, Red Bank and Hixson had two apiece.
GPS had first-place finishes in seven events while D-II rival Baylor was victorious six times. Central had two while Cleveland, Rhea County and Ooltewah had one apiece.
(Email John Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org)