MURFREESBORO — Green Hill teammates and workout partners Kyler Nichols and Carolina Bannach had different big pictures, but achieved the same goal Thursday — repeating as Class AAA pole vault champions at Middle Tennessee State’s Dean Hayes Stadium.
Nichols, a Tennessee signee, sat out almost all of his senior season due to a hamstring injury sustained two days before the first outdoor meet. He strained it again during the Brentwood Invitational before shutting his season down. He returned for the postseason and did just enough to qualify for the next meet.
At the state, as an uncharacteristically-low fifth seed, he passed on all the jumps until 16 feet and cleared it to win over Brentwood’s Canon Kinder’s 15-6. Nichols’ Green Hill teammate, junior Jacob Cannon, was sixth with a 14-0.
Bannach, the top seed on the girls’ side, also waited out the early rounds before springing into action to take the title with an 11-0 to beat runner-up Sarah Smith of Cookeville and third-place Ella Pine of Lebanon, who both cleared 10-6. Smith took second because she made it on her first try while Pine needed two.
But Bannach wasn’t finished. Eyeing the upcoming Nike Outdoor Nationals and her own personal best, she had the bar set higher, clearing 11-6 and, on her second try, 12-0 before coming up short on all three tries at 12-5.
“I’m very excited to go to nationals,” said Bannach, who has signed with Tennessee Tech. “I was trying to get to the elite division, but I’m happy with how I jumped today.”
She needed a 12-5 to qualify as an elite. But the 12-0 is a new personal best.
“I’m very excited,” she said. “I have amazing teammates and they were here to support me.”
One of her teammates on hand was Nichols, whose boys meet was held first.
“I just did what I know how to do, what the Lord allowed me to,” Nichols said. “I got another state championship. That’s not my title. That’s His.”
He said he jumped one time at the sub-section meet and once at the section.
“We had to make sure I was 110%,” Nichols said. “We came here today, was feeling good and jumped my best.
“I was jumping just enough to scoot me in… It’s definitely been hard this season.”
Nichols, who was also running hurdles and the 400 with goals of four events at state coming into the season, said he plans to continue to take it easy and hitting the gym this summer before trading his Hawk green for Big Orange this fall.
Nichols and Bannach joined Mt. Juliet’s Cole Shea in 2017-18 as back-to-back pole vault champions from Wilson County.
Also in the Class AAA boys’ track and field meet Thursday, Wilson Central senior Maya Follmer was runner up in the girls’100-meter hurdles in 14.68 seconds, trailing only the :14.24 of Memphis Central’s Denver Winters. Green Hill junior Aiyah Siggers, who was seeded eighth out of 16 runners coming in, shot up to third with a time of :14.74.
Follmer was fifth in the long jump with a leap of 18-3.75. Siggers was ninth in the 300 hurdles in :46.71.
Green Hill junior Cameron Bryan was third in the high jump with a 5-06 while Mt. Juliet’s Julia Pitt was 14th with a 5-0.
Green Hill senior Angela Hoover was sixth in the triple jump with a 36-5.5.
In the relays, Wilson Central was fourth in the 4-by-100 in :48.97 and 12th in the 4-by-400 in 4:08.37. Green Hill was ninth in the 4-by-800 in 9:49.59.
On the boys’ side, Green Hill senior Owen de Giorgio was third in the 800 in 1:55.46.
Wilson Central senior Jase Neuble was seventh in the long jump in 22-4. Lebanon’s Payton Hodge 15th with a 28-8.75.
Green Hill freshman L.J. Foster was 11th in the high jump with a 6-0.
Freshman Gavin Uhlir was ninth in the shot put with a 45-0.5 while his Hawk senior teammate D.J. Hyde was 14th with a throw of 49.9.25.
Wilson Central junior Aden Bryan was 12th in the 100 in :10.81.
In the relays, Wilson Central was fourth in the 4-by-800 in 8:03.01. The Wildcats were seventh in the 4-by-100 in :42.14 and 10th in the 4-by-400 in 3:27.25.
Lebanon’s Jarred Hall, entered in the high jump (where he was seeded fourth) and triple jump, withdrew due to illness.
Watertown’s Allison, Oliver finish third in Class A
In Tuesday’s Class A meet, Watertown sophomore Shayla Allison was third in the girls’ high jump with a leap of 5-0, just two inches behind winner Aniyah Marshall of East Nashville.
In the discus, Lady Purple Tiger teammates Rilee Jo Gardner and Jaleigh Robertson finished sixth and seventh, respectively. Gardner’s best throw was 97-7. Robertson, who fouled twice in her four attempts, threw an 86-8.
Madison King was sixth in the 300 hurdles in 50.54 seconds.
As a team, the Lady Tigers finished 12th out of 37 teams represented at the meet.
On the boys’ side, Watertown freshman Landon Oliver was third in the pole vault with an 11.0, one foot shy of the 12-0 cleared by Madison Academic’s Adolfo Mireles, who came in first.
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