They are friends who sometimes practice together, two pole vaulters from Tampa — Jesuit junior Nick Catchur and Tampa Catholic sophomore Nikki Carroll.
On Saturday in Jacksonville, they applauded each other after they had done what no other athletes from Hillsborough and Pasco counties could do at the Class 2A state track meet — win state titles.
Catchur won by clearing 14 feet, 6 inches. Carroll won with a vault of 11 feet.
“I know Nick is going to win because he’s the best,” Carroll said after she received her medal and just before the boys’ vault began. “I just know it.”
Catchur, who came in as the No. 1 seed after a 15-foot vault at regional, also felt confident, which is why he didn’t start vaulting Saturday until the bar was set at 13 feet.
“But I was still a little apprehensive in general because it is the state meet and anything can happen,” Catchur said. “I made sure to stay focused.”
On his winning vault, Catchur said he felt good down the runway and over the bar.
“That’s why I was smiling when I went over the bar,” Catchur said.
Carroll — a full-time gymnast who readily admits to being “by far the smallest” vaulter at 5 feet, 11/2 inches, said she had a good vibe through the meet and performed about as well as she could.
“Because I’m shorter I have to be strong technically and I was today,” said Carroll, who didn’t start vaulting until last year. “I’m so glad I got into this. Now my goal is to come back and clear 12 feet, 6 inches next year. I really think I can do it.”
Several other Hillsborough and Pasco athletes finished in the top four:
Anclote — Emily Gauvey, third in high jump (5-6 on more jumps); Spencer Guerette, third in 1,600 meters (4:22.42).
There were other standout performances, including several from Robinson: Jack Rogers finished fifth in the 800 (1:56.3), Georgette Price was sixth in the 800 (2:17.83), Emily Vaughan was fifth in the pole vault (10 feet), and the Knights’ 4x800 girls team of Julia DeYoung, Madison Scanlan, Aaliyah Gordon and Maddy Hull was sixth in 9:47.