by: Contributed, Ben Cogdill vaulted 16 feet, a personal best, and unofficially sixth in the nation at the Adidas Golden West Invitational in Sacramento on June 11.

Estacada High School graduate Ben Cogdill recorded a personal best when he vaulted to sixth in the nation at the Adidas Golden West Invitational in Sacramento, Calif. in June.

Cogdill's highest pole vault prior to June 11 was 15-9-recorded on May 14 in the 2005 Tri-Valley League District meet. At Folsom High School in Sacramento, Cogdill won the B Division championship and finished sixth with a 16-foot vault.

The Golden West Invitational is the nation's most important high school track meet. It is the closest thing there is to an actual national championship. It has a long history, and virtually all of the great track and field athletes this country has produced have competed there. Athletes are invited to this meet according to the marks they have posted through their high school season. Cogdill competed in 2005 and again in 2006.

Cogdill injured his angle in April when he landed in a soft spot of a pit. He tore ligaments and has been unable to return to a full workout. He was able to train enough to qualify and win the OSAA 3A Track and Field Championship for the second year in a row, but he has not been able to hit marks he is capable of reaching.

The pole vault competition at the Golden West Invitational is split into two sections. Each section is treated as a separate competition with separate awards. However, marks are compared for an unofficial overall ranking. The cutoff mark was 16-feet, so Cogdill found himself in the B section.

The weather conditions affected the competition. It was warm, but windy. The wind gave the vaulters trouble with their steps, and many performed below par. Cogdill was one of two boys who set personal records at the meet.

The two-time Oregon champion entered the competition at 15 feet. His steps were off on first two approaches and he aborted the attempt. He had to clear the bar on his third try or he would record a no height. He did.

The bar raised to 15-6, where Cogdill and one other jumper advanced. Cogdill did on his first attempt.

The bar raised to 16-feet and again Cogdill cleared it on his first jump. The other vaulter failed on all three attempts. Cogdill had won.

Sixteen feet was already a personal record for Cogdill, but he wanted to go higher. He tried three times to clear 16-3, and came close, but pulled the bar down with him on all three descents.

Five jumpers cleared 16-3 in the A section, but failed to jump any higher.

Cogdill will attend Portland State University in the fall on a track scholarship.

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