What an incredible journey it has been for Madison Negro and Aspen Fears, two talented athletes hailing from Valter Club, as they embarked on their quest for glory at the 2023 CIF State Track and Field Championships. Fears made an impressive vault, achieving a new personal record of 13 feet 4 inches in the pole vault, securing her ticket to CIF alongside Negro, who consistently cleared the bar at 12 feet 9 inches, proudly representing the southern section as they head into state.
Entering the preliminaries with a #2 seed ranking, Aspen Fears soared through the competition, starting strong by effortlessly clearing the pole vault bar set at 11 feet 9 inches. Madison Negro mirrored her success, matching the height with ease. However, as the bar was raised to 12 feet 3 inches, Fears encountered difficulties, and unfortunately, that ended up being the only height she could clear on that day. With three unsuccessful attempts, Fears missed the opportunity to advance to the CIF State Finals, finishing in 15th place.
On the other hand, Madison Negro confidently sailed over the bar at 12 feet 3 inches and eagerly awaited the ascent to 12 feet 7 inches. With unwavering determination, she cleared the bar, securing her place in the California State Championships for the second consecutive year.
Advancing to the second round on day two of the California 2023 State Championship finals, Madison Negro demonstrated her prowess once again. The competition commenced with an opening bar set at 11 feet 11 inches, where the top 12 girls vied for the coveted title of state champion. Madison confidently approached the bar and effortlessly cleared it, making it look seamless. As the bar was raised to 12 feet 5 inches, three other vaulters successfully conquered the height, while Madison unfortunately fell short. Nevertheless, she secured a commendable 9th place finish at the State Championships, earning a well-deserved medal.
The ultimate victor was Iliana Downing from La Costa Canyon High School in San Diego, achieving a remarkable vault of 13 feet 5 inches, just one inch higher than Aspen Fears’ personal record and three inches beyond Madison Negro’s personal best.
Throughout the long journey of the track and field state championships, Madison Negro and Aspen Fears exemplified the spirit of champions. These dedicated athletes made tremendous sacrifices, enduring long journeys of four hours and 40 minutes or more to reach the championship venue. Since April 24th, week after week, both competitors tirelessly competed, facing stiff competition in the most challenging section of the United States. While many schools in California enjoyed a bye week, these young women continued to push themselves, seeking to secure their rankings among the 1,698 girls statewide.
It is unclear why the CIF mandates the southern section to participate in an extra meet, possibly related to financial reasons. However, it seems unjust to subject any athlete to such a discrepancy. Nevertheless, despite these obstacles, these athletes, their clubs, and their schools showcased exceptional skill and determination as they fought their way to the state track and field championships. As coaches, parents, spectators, and schools, we couldn’t be prouder of these two remarkable young women who represented their families with unwavering pride at the state championships.