Canyon's Rachel Baxter cleared 14 feet in the pole vault at the Triton Invitational on Saturday. It is the top mark in the country this season.

Canyon's Baxter has surprising day at Triton Invitational


SAN CLEMENTE – Canyon’s Rachel Baxter made a statement Saturday that this could be another record-breaking season for her.

The senior cleared a 14-foot bar in pole vault, the top mark in the nation this season, to highlight the Triton Invitational at San Clemente High.

“I really had no expectations today,” said Baxter, who set the CIF State record last year with a mark of 14-3. “I was going from a short run, just kind of like see what I can do, see how this year has been trainingwise. Just to be able to put a 14-foot mark up this early from a short run is unbelievable.”

Baxter won the event by clearing 13 feet, 1 inch on her second attempt, but she kept pushing higher. She cleared 13 feet, 7 inches on the first attempt and 14 feet on a second attempt.

“I did an indoor season this year as well, so that helped me put my mindset where it was,” Baxter said. “These last few weeks, we’ve been going from a short run, working on my takeoff. That takeoff, that’s what’s really been key.”

Baxter also tried to set a personal record and the age-group record for 17-year-olds. She didn’t get there, but the attempt gave Baxter early encouragement.

“To attempt a PR bar from a short run, I’m so happy and so excited to see where this season goes,” Baxter said.

Several athletes took double wins on the day, including Mission Viejo’s Quinn Williams for the second consecutive weekend.

Williams took wins in the 110 meters (15.31 seconds) and 300 hurdles (38.83 seconds), but each run wasn’t exactly perfect.

“I was kind of thrown off (in the 110) because the officials had to move my blocks off the track,” Williams said. “So I had to set up again, and it just threw off the whole mojo.”

Williams came over the 300 finish line off balance after misreading the final jump.

“Towards the end, I still had it, but on that last hurdle, I second-guessed myself,” Williams said. “I think what got me was after last week, I wanted to PR and get to that 37 (seconds). I think it got to me a little too much.”

Alycia Turner of Aliso Niguel won the 100 (12.42 seconds) and 200 (25.36 seconds).

“I’m feeling really good,” Turner said. “I’m feeling that I’m going to be able to improve my time by a lot in both races.”

Santa Margarita dominated the relays, winning the girls 4x100 relay (49.24 seconds) and 4x200 (1:42.15) and boys 4x200 (1:30.22).

The Eagles also had a double-winner in the jumps with Elizabeth Weeks, who was first in the long jump (17 feet, 3 inches) and triple jump (36 feet, 11.5 inches).

Newport Harbor’s Cole Smith was a double-winner in throws with a 59-5 mark in shot put and 169-9 in discus.

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