Sports -- March 17, 2005

Published on Thu, Mar 17, 2005
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by Jack Kintner

Track season gets underway

Erin Lippe, a 16-year-old junior at Blaine high school, stands a good chance of doing quite well this track season in her chosen event of pole vaulting.

At least, that’s what her coach, Rob Ridnour, says. “She could do it all,” he said earlier this week at practice, “she has the arm strength, so it’s now more about form.”

Ridnour characterized the pole vault as one of the best in track and field competition because of the various elements involved. “There are so many elements,” he said, “so many things that have to go right – sprinting, timing, strength. It’s the toughest field event and one of the toughest things to do in all athletics. Erin’s got the potential to go all the way, given her fourth place finish at state last year, especially since the three girls who beat her have all graduated.”

The AA state girls pole vault record currently stands at 11 feet three inches, set at last year’s state meet in Cheney. Lippe clearly has her eye on that mark, having set a Blaine school record last year, leaping 10 feet seven inches in Lynden.

“So how high ya gonna go?” Ridnour asked with a grin, “because whatever she says, she’ll end up a foot higher than that.”

Lippe said her personal goal is 11 feet five inches, two inches over the current record. “I’m about to get a new pole, a 13 (feet long) 120 (maximum weight in pounds for the user) and a 123-125, and that will help,” she said. “Last year on a 12.4 115 I was not eating and steaming and so on to lose weight, because you have to weigh in and I was always a couple of pounds over.”

“She’ll get more spring out of a heavier pole, too,” said Ridnour.
Lippe can consistently go over 10 feet when she’s got her rhythm down and is concentrating. “I’d do this all day if I could, but you have to have a coach out here with you at least when you’re vaulting.”

She said she figures to get in a couple dozen jumps or so each practice, which run Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday when there are no meets scheduled. She also works out in the gym on stationary rings doing what she calls “swing-ups, where you hang from the rings and then pull yourself up with your arms and then swing your lower body up, using your abdominals, just like vaulting.”

Track team sets record
Blaine’s track team set a record by just coming out on the first day of practice, when 70 students showed up. “This is our biggest team in many, many years,” said head coach Mike Grambo. To handle the crush he’s added some names to his list of assistant coaches. This year’s assistants and their specialties:

Jim Rasar teaches high school shop and coaches sprints and javelin.
Rasar’s wife Fryth, holder of the Blaine high school record in the triple jump, now coaches that event for the team.

Dan DeLong, also an assistant with the football program and a pro prospect as a quarterback, coaches the hurdlers.
Rob Ridnour teaches physical education and coaches pole vault.
Sherie Vekved teaches in the middle school and coaches discus and shot put.

Carey Bacon, head cross-country coach in the fall, is a school librarian and coaches the distance runners and long jumpers.
Head coach Mike Grambo, teaches history at Blaine high school and coaches high jump.

“With all these numbers I don’t really know yet how we’ll be,” Grambo said. Erin Lippe and Alisha Fisher are back from last year’s state tournament qualifiers, and both are school record holders. Alisha was injured in volleyball, unfortunately, and may be back in the late spring.”
“We have distance runners Melissa Galbraith and Dominique Walter, who went to state last fall in cross country, and Kim McLeod in the high jump. For boys, Matt Christion is a good sprinter and we’ve got Alex Sylvester back in the shot and discus.”

Blaine’s first track meet is one week from today at Sedro Woolley. The first of just two home meets is on March 31 beginning at 4 p.m.