Rockport-Fulton’s Olivia Carney surprises with medal at UIL State Track

AUSTIN – Nine competitors competed in the Class 4A girls pole vault Thursday, and all had jumped at least 10 feet at the regionals.

The only participant who hadn’t was smiling as big as anyone after the event.

Rockport-Fulton sophomore Olivia Carney broke her previous best distance twice at the UIL State Meet, clearing 11 feet and 11-6 to finish in third place and take home a medal in her first appearance at the State Meet.

“I was nauseous and nervous,” Carney said. “I didn’t think I would come third.”

After missing at 12-0 lately, Carney said she didn’t know she was in third place, beating three other athletes with fewer misses. As the word sank in, she began to sob, overcome with joy.

“The judges came up and I asked if we should jump off and he told me only first place had to jump off,” Carney said. “You just have to stay because you’re third… I thought ‘No way’ and I burst into tears.”

Carney scored 10-6 on her second attempt, but made 11 and 11-6 on her first attempt, giving her the tie-break for bronze.

The Pirates sophomore said it was a big deal because Rockport-Fulton had not sent a girls pole vaulter to state since 2021, when Mikey Dominguez advanced and earned a silver medal.

“I kind of did it for her (last pole vaulter Mikey Dominguez) and I did it to prove it to everyone,” Carney said. “At the beginning of the season I felt the pressure to go to state. It was so important to me. As soon as I (got through) the regionals and qualified for state, it was such a relief. I had so much pressured myself to make it.

“I didn’t go into it wanting to win medals or try, I just wanted PR. I was placed last. I didn’t think it was possible to get a medal at all.”

Carney’s Rockport-Fulton teammate Brody Karl finished just off the podium as he finished fourth in the Class 4A boys pole vault after leading 14-6.

Sulfur Springs’ Jaicee Jasper was the Class 4A girls state champion with a mark of 13-0, while Nevada Community’s Kira Bowman finished second with the same mark but more attempts.

More: UIL State Track and Field Championships 2024: Live Results