http://www.mlive.com/sports/grpress/ind ... xml&coll=6
Beach Vault deals with high winds
Thursday, July 19, 2007
By Cris Greer
The Grand Rapids Press
GRAND HAVEN -- Nearly 300 athletes from around the country competed Friday, and in high winds Saturday, at the sixth annual Grand Haven Beach Vault held at the City Beach.
The two-day contest, which began six years ago with 60 competitors, drew people from as far away as California, Florida and Texas.
"I think it was a great success; we ended up having 279 competitors," said Dave Emeott, organizer of the event and East Kentwood's track and field coach. "People from all over the Midwest, really all over the country, had the opportunity to come see what Grand Haven's like.
"We're excited to see all those cars in Grand Haven with poles strapped to them. The local people are really getting excited about it. And we're coming back next year."
Mark Hollis, an Olivet Nazarene University grad, tackled the 17 mph winds to grab first place (17 feet) in the men's open elite category.
Kira Sims, of the University of Akron, won the women's open elite (12-6).
Amanda Haines, a three-time national champion at Adrian College and Siena Heights University, talked about the Beach Vault's popularity.
"It's getting huge; I think it's the atmosphere," said Haines, who no-heighted in the elite category. "Everybody loves having a lot of vaulters who are supporting the sport because sometimes it's really hard to find meets, especially in the summer."
East Kentwood standout Abby Shanahan won the girls high school elite category (12 feet).
"I live for the sport," said Shanahan, who's heading to Kansas State University on a track scholarship. "I only work one day a week, so my life is dedicated to pole vaulting."
Last spring, Shanahan won the Division 1 high school state pole vault title with a record height of 12-2.
Logan Lynch, of Temperance Bedford, won the boys high school elite category with a vault of 14-6. Lynch is a two-time Division 1 state champion. Last spring, he set a state record of 16-1.
Kellie Kieren, of Grant High School and Grand Valley State University, won the women's college open category (11 feet). Bethany Hecksel of Rockford and GVSU took second place. Hecksel was the Division 1 state champ in 2002 with a vault of 11-0.