GREENSBORO – Perhaps the only person in Aggie Stadium on Saturday afternoon who did not know the name of the new state 1A record holder in the pole vault happened to have a microphone.
The public address announcer informed everyone sweating around Irwin Belk Track that a new standard of 15-1 had been cleared “by someone, but we don’t know his name.”
Everyone else gathered around did. Jake Justice is basically a household name at this point in state track and field.
The Polk County senior capped his career with his second straight state outdoor pole vault title. So dominant is Justice in the event that he didn’t even take his first jump until the bar reached 14-0, by which time everyone else in the field had already been eliminated.
Justice cleared that mark to secure his championship. He is just the third Polk County male to own multiple outdoor state individual titles, joining John Spencer Wolfe and Regis Bittle, and his four combined indoor and outdoor titles are fourth-best in school history for any Wolverine behind Karen Godlock, Jennifer Dimsdale and Wolfe.
“It definitely means the world to me,” said Justice, now the state 1A record holder in indoors and outdoors. “I’ll be remembered for this day and for my high school career.
“I never thought in my freshman year that I would be a four-time state champion in the pole vault. It’s really rewarding.”
Most of the pole vault competition unfolded while Justice was across the track at the long jump pit. The top seed entering the event, Justice never could find his rhythm and fouled on five of his six jumps. His one clean jump of 20-11 earned him sixth place.
“The board was a 12-foot board and I’m used to an eight-foot board and I just keep scratching,” Justice said. “I should have won the event. I scratched just barely on a jump that was probably 23 feet.”
Justice also competed in the 300-meter hurdles, placing ninth after only have a few minutes to rest following the long jump and pole vault. He then came back late in the day to run on Polk County’s 4×400-meter relay team, joining seniors Jordan Bishop and Jack Derkach along with freshman Braxton Edwards.
“That was my last race with that group. I’ve been with them since eighth grade,” Justice said of Derkach and Bishop. “My whole high school career led up that, and it was good to race with my boys for the last time.”