Tyler Lee Red Raider Branson Ellis and Whitehouse Wildcat Cameron Johnson are two of the top pole vaulters, not just in East Texas, but the entire Lone Star state.
"I've just been working harder at it, I've wanted more from it. It's just just a lot of progression," said Cameron Johnson, sophomore Wildcat headed to the 5A state competition.
"It's an honor for people in the sport to look up to you. They say I want to be like "so and so". I mean it really is and feels great," said Branson Ellis, junior Red Raider headed to the 6A state competition.
With a personal record of 15' feet 8" inches, Johnson is ranked No.15 in the state among all classification. Ellis has almost an extra foot on Johnson, placing him as the third top vaulter in Texas. But what is so impressive about both of these athletes is that they have each only been competing at this sport for three years.
"Cameron set the junior high record here at 11' feet 7" inches. I knew when he started out as a youngster that he had something special," said Craig Dornak, Whitehouse pole vaulting coach.
"I took that jump in ninth grade and I knew I was done for it. I knew that this was pretty much the best mistake I ever made. I knew that this was what I really wanted to do," said Ellis.
In the next few days, Johnson and Cameron will take their passion to Austin competing at state. In 6A Ellis will hope to add a gold to the silver he won in 2016.
"When I was at state securing second place before I even got the medal, it was like okay what can I do differently to be better next year and to win state next year and win gold," said Ellis.
In 5A Johnson says he is just looking to best himself and clear 16 feet, which could actually result in a bronze.
"I still got some goals to hit my personal record. But I'm not really going to win or nothing I'm just going to have some fun and hit a new personal record," said Johnson.
"He has the least about of pressure of anybody. If he gets that 16 foot that he has been getting close to getting all year long, I feel like that would get him a medal." said Dornak.
Track and Field state meet will begin Thursday, May 11th at Mike A. Myers Stadium University of Texas at Austin.
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