by: JEFF WILSON/ THE PIONEER - Culver sophomore Corey Sledge, seen here vaulting at the Culver Invite eariler this month, is closing in on the 14-foot mark.Corey Sledge said before the start of the 2014 track and field season his goal was to hit the 14-foot, 6-inch mark in the pole vault. To some, including his coach, that number seemed a little high for the soaring sophomore.

But after his performance Saturday at the Meet of Champions in Salem, 14-6 suddenly doesn't seem so far off.

"I think my technique has gotten a lot better from last year," Sledge said.

Sledge placed second overall in the meet, turning in a vault of 13-6 that tied eventual winner Lucas Hidalgo of Banks in height. Hildago won by clearing the height on fewer attampts that Sledge did.

Still, Sledge is more than confident that he will continue to improve by leaps and bounds.

Using a pole that is a foot longer this season, Sledge has been able to increase his jumps significantly. He said he feels like 14-6 will come soon and can see a 15-0 vault, this year.

Sledge was just one of a handful of Culver athletes that attended the meet at Willamette University. Open to athletes in classes 4A down to 1A that met qualifying standards, the Bulldogs and a handful of other Bulldogs showed their stuff.

Sledge was the only Bulldog to compete in the boys division, but the girls were well represented. Hannah Lewis, Andrea Retano, Ana Badillo, Gabrielle Alley, Jessica Johnson and Lynze Schonneker all took part in the meet.

Individually, Lewis and Retano scored top 10 finishes, as Lewis logged a time of 1:02.90 to place sixth in the 400-meter, while Retano clocked in at 2:31.12 to place sixth in the 800.

Retano also found her way into ninth place in the pole vault going over the bar at eight feet.

The Bulldogs took fourth in the 1,600 relay as Lewis, Johnson, Badillo and Retano ran a 4:22.96.

While those Bulldogs were competing in Salem, other members of the team ran in the Burns Invitational.

The shorthanded girls finished in 11th place as a team, led by Unity Ballard, who placed third in the pole vault and seventh in the discus. The Bulldog boys took seventh place.

At a Tri River 2A meet last week at home, the Bulldogs saw some of their top competition up close. The boys team ended up second behind Kennedy, while the girls were a point out of third.

Some of the top Culver performers included Sledge winning the pole vault, Jaiden Jones taking fifth in the 100 and third in the 200, Arturo Vazquez was fourth in the 100 and fifth in the 200, while Christopher Munoz was fifth in both the 1,500 and 3,000 runs.

On the girls' side, Angelica Metteer won the 1,500, Retano was second in the 800, Lewis was second in both the 100 and 400 runs and Schonneker took first in the shot put.

Culver will be at the La Pine Invitational on Saturday.

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