County Won't Buy More Pole Vaulting Gear
The School District of Hillsborough County is getting out of the pole vault business, at least when it comes to buying equipment for the event, county athletic director Lanness Robinson said.
Robinson cited the continuing economic crunch, which has forced the district to take "an honest look" at where it spends its limited athletic funds. When it did, the expense of pole vault pits, poles and standards seemed excessive when considering the limited number of athletes who participate in this event.
A pole vault pit, for example, cost more than $10,000. The protective cover for the pit alone costs more than $1,000. Poles can cost more than $400 while the standards (the aluminum structures holding up the crossbar) are typically more than $1,500.
Robinson said most of the district's schools currently have safe and functioning pits and standards. But when those wear out, the county won't be replacing them unless "things get better economically."
"We'll still have the pole vault in most of our meets and kids can still compete in it," Robinson said.
Understandably, local prep coaches who have guided some of the area's top pole vaulters in recent years were saddened by the news.
"I hate to see that happen because we coach the pole vault, it's something we've always coached and we have some good athletes who score in meets," said Wharton track coach Wes Newton. "More importantly, I have personally put kids into college because of that event."
ROAD TRIPS: There are a host of top senior football players who will be unavailable for the Dec. 6 Hillsborough County All-Star Game because they have scheduled official college visits. Hillsborough running back Lindsey Lamar and Jesuit wideout Erick McGriff are a couple.
Lamar, who is visiting Duke this weekend, is scheduled to visit South Carolina next weekend. Terriers coach Earl Garcia said Lamar, who led the county in rushing this year with 1,319 yards and 18 touchdowns, also has lined up visits with Iowa and USF, but might drop one of those schools since Michigan amped up its interest in him on Friday. Garcia said Michigan may offer Lamar a scholarship as soon as Monday.
McGriff, the Tigers' leading receiver, is scheduled to visit Kansas, one of several Division I schools to offer a scholarship. McGriff also is expected to visit Auburn and Troy.
BOYS BASKETBALL: Tampa Prep, ranked No. 3 in the Class 2A preseason poll, opened its season with a 77-50 win against Lennard at the fifth annual Southeast Basketball Academy Thanksgiving Classic on Friday.
Junior forward Jay Bowie, who transferred from Middleton, led the Terrapins with 14 points and 17 rebounds. Junior guard Jamal Cherry added 13 points while senior guard Jake Haslam had 10.
Also making his debut with Tampa Prep was junior point guard Jordan Heath, son of USF men's basketball coach Stan Heath. Heath played considerable minutes until he suffered an ankle injury in the second half. Tampa Prep coach Joe Fenlon said he is waiting on test results of Heath's ankle.
Fenlon said this year's squad won't resemble teams in recent memory because of the surplus of guards, which includes freshman Devontae Morgan, who was recently named to the ESPNU 100 To Watch list for the Class of 2012.
"We'll be able to set the tone because of the depth at that position," Fenlon said. "It's like the team we had in the late 1990s."