Monday, April 16, 2012

Leesburg's Hall Earns All-america Honors, June 22, 2004

June 22, 2004|By Joe Williams, Sentinel Staff Writer

Leesburg's Erica Hall considered taking this summer off.

Winning her second consecutive Class 4A state high school pole vaulting championship in May had earned her a break, a chance to rest her aching right knee before resuming her career as a freshman pole vaulter at Arkansas State University.

But after an MRI found the pain in her knee was only the result of tendinitis, the allure of a chance to compete Saturday at the adidas Outdoor National Track and Field Championships at North Carolina State University was too strong.

In what technically was her final meet as a high school competitor, Hall finished in a tie for fourth with a vault of 11 feet, 11 3/4 inches, earning her All-America status.

"I couldn't think of a better way to end my senior season than with a state championship and as an All-American," said Hall, the Sentinel's two-time girls track athlete of the year for Lake and Sumter counties. "I was pretty pumped about it."

Hall's journey to nationals came as a member of Coach Bobby Haeck's Pole Vault City club team.

Haeck was taking another club member, Lori Bowen from Tallahassee Maclay (the Class A state champion in the pole vault), to the meet and asked Hall if she wanted to go along just to watch.

"I was just going to take time off with my knee," Hall said. "But Coach [Haeck] invited me to go and I said I wasn't going to go and not compete."

So Hall started practicing again.

Bowen and Hall were among a group of four vaulters who cleared 11-11 3/4 -- the third-best height of the meet. Tiffany Maskulinski of Elma, N.Y., and Jenn O'Neil of Fairport, N.Y., both cleared 13-1 1/2, and Jenny Soceka of Madison, Wis., finished third at 12-5 1/2.

Hall just missed on her third and final attempt at 12-5 1/2, a half-inch below her personal best.
Now, Hall said, she plans to take the remainder of the summer off so she will be at full strength when she begins her collegiate career.


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