Paul Ford won the Section VII State qualifier high jump competition Feb. 16 at the Plattsburgh State Fieldhouse.
AuSable Valley indoor track and field athletes Paul Ford and Ashlee Estes had been the best at clearing the high jump bar throughout the 2012-13 Section VII indoor track season.
On Feb. 16, they solidified their foothold on the event by both winning the NYSPHSAA state qualifier meet at the Plattsburgh State Fieldhouse.
Estes, a junior, opened the day for the Patriots by capturing the girls high jump event and a trip to the state meet in Cornell with a jump of 4’6”.
Estes was the only competitor to clear the mark and went for a season best with the bar raised to 4’8”, but was unable to make the height on three attempts.
“I have done 4’7” a lot this year, and I wanted to set a personal best,” Estes said.
This is Estes’ first time qualifying for the state tournament after just missing a spot on last year’s team.
State Championship qualifiers
Including Paul Ford and Ashlee Estes, a total of six local athletes will be making their way to NYSPHSAA championship events next weekend, including:
•Hank McCormick and Gavin Friedrich of AuSable Valley both qualified for the state boy’s swimming championships. The event will be held at Webster-Schroeder High School in Rochester, with preliminary rounds starting Friday, March 1, at noon and continuing at the same time Saturday, March 2.
•Michael McDonald of AuSable Valley and Gabi Yeager of Willsboro will compete in the state bowling championships, which will be held at Strike n’ Spare Lanes in Syracuse. Bowling begins Saturday, March 2 with the first set of three high school team games at 9 a.m., followed by head-to-head competition at 12:30 p.m. The bowling will follow the same format Sunday, March 3, with sectional team games starting at 9 a.m. and head-to-head bowling at 10:45 a.m.
“I was so close last year and didn’t get in. This was my goal to make it this year,” Estes said. “I am going to jump a lot over the nest two weeks and work on my execution because I expect to see a lot of good jumpers down there.”
Ford, a senior who qualified for states last year in the high jump and the 55m hurdles, had an easier path in winning the state qualifying event than he did the previous week at the sectional championships when he won in a jump-off.
Ford, who has cleared 6’0” throughout the season, was the lone athlete to clear the 5’4” mark, but was unable to add to his winning height.
“I felt good going over the bar, but I was just not able to clear the next height,” Ford said. “I am just going to work at it harder. There is going to be a lot of jumping over the next two weeks.”
Ford said that he was proud to be going back to the state meet.
“Seeing the guys that jump down there, it is cool to watch and it is a nice feeling to be down there and be part of that group,” Ford said. “I know now that I do not need to feel intimidated, and that I just need to focus on my own jumps because those are the ones that matter to me.”
The high jump will be the final field event for both the boys and girls at the NYSPHSAA state championship meet Saturday, March 2. The events will be held at Barton Hall on the campus of Cornell University.