Mill Creek's Hall dominates to claim AAAAAA pole vault title | PHOTOS | RESULTS

A general view of Jefferson Memorial Stadium during Thursday’s track & field state championship meet at Jefferson Memorial Stadium. (Photo: Kyle Hess)

A general view of Jefferson Memorial Stadium during Thursday’s track & field state championship meet at Jefferson Memorial Stadium. (Photo: Kyle Hess)


Track and field notebook

JEFFERSON — By the time it finally ended, Jake Hall vaulted alone.

The Mill Creek senior didn’t miss an attempt on his way to the Class AAAAAA pole vault state championship. He finished clearing a personal best 14 feet.

“It felt good knowing that I was in a good position,” Hall said, referring to the tie-breaker rule of past misses at a lower height. “It definitely took a lot of pressure off.”

This was Hall’s second trip to the state meet at Jefferson, last year he finished well off the podium, not clearing anything over 12 feet. Seasoned, he came to this meet with higher expectations.

“It was a little different (this year),” said Hall, who also ran the mile a season ago. “I was more experienced. It’s good to know (how to approach your jumps).”

Hall doesn’t plan to vault in college so entering Thursday’s state championship event, he knew his competing’s end date. But not it’s end time.

A miss measurement on the early vaults forced the officials to restart the event, even calling back Tift County’s Dalton Ellis, who had left the track after missing his first three jumps. Eventually, Ellis cleared three bars making the return worth his time. But for Hall, the delay meant even more waiting. After warming up, he sat in the sun for a while, eventually taking to jogging lightly on the track to keep his muscles loose.

“It gave me an opportunity to get warm and focus,” Hall said.

Once Hall cleared 14 feet on his first attempt he watched again, this time seeing Lambert’s Mason Lord and South Gwinnett’s Donald Onyeanula miss on their three attempts.

“It was nerve-wracking,” Hall said of jumping in the small final group. “I just tried to stay calm and focus on me.”

Lord finished second and Onyeanula took a disappointing third. Onyeanula’s teammate Che Curtis finished in fifth and Mill Creek’s Jacob Zambo finished tied for seventh.

“It’s tough,” Onyeanula said, “especially when you work hard and you don’t get anywhere.”

The senior Onyeanula eventually conceded his third place was an improvement over last year’s fifth, but he came to his final high school meet eyeing a state title.

But things didn’t come together for the vaulter who will be a part of Kennesaw State’s track and field team next season. Attempting to clear 13-6, Onyeanula snapped his pole on his approach and pieces shot toward him and into the assembled family and coaches. The noise drew questioning glances from across the stadium. It was the third time it’s happened to Onyeanula, but it left him looking for a pole. He found one a bit shorter and designed for less weight and promptly missed his first two jumps with a new pole. He cleared on his third, setting him up for his top-three finish.

When he cleared, his coach, Carlos Freytes, shouted in exhaultation. Freytes coached Onyeanula since the native of Nigeria started pole vaulting in high school.

“I was ecstatic to clear,” Onyeanula said. “It’s not my last day.”

Thursday was for Hall, who admitted some melancholy.

“I am definitely happy I finished the way I did,” Hall said.

State placers

Boys State Track and Field Championships

Jefferson Memorial Stadium, Jefferson

Thursday’s finals


First place

Jake Hall, Mill Creek, pole vault, 14

John Patterson, Parkview, discus, 175-01

Jeremy McDuffie, Shiloh, triple jump, 49

Bailey Vitatoe, Brookwood, high jump, 6-10

Second place

Josh Englalls, Brookwood, 1,600, 4:12.82

Third place

Donald Onyeanula, South Gwinnett, pole vault, 13.06

John Paul Harley, North Gwinnett, high jump 6-10

Tyler Woodrome, Mill Creek, 1,600, 4:13.41

Fourth place

Ben Yarn, Collins Hill, shot put, 53-7.75

Nathan Strother, Norcross, long jump, 23-3.5

Will Henderson, Parkview, 1,600, 4:14.54

Fifth place

Che Curtis, South Gwinnett, pole vault, 13

John Patterson, Parkview, shot put, 53-7.5

Sloan Huff, Archer, discus, 153-07

Bailey Vitatoe, Brookwood, long jump, 22-11.25

Bryan Kamau, Shiloh, 1,600, 4:14.87

Sixth place

Miles Yapp, Brookwood, 1,600, 4:18.64

Seventh place

Jacob Zambo, Mill Creek, pole vault, 12.06

Devante’ Kershaw, North Gwinnett, triple jump, 45-7.75

Eighth place

Tyree Davis, Dacula, shot put 50-7

Dozie Ojiagbaje, Berkmar, discus, 147-10

John Paul Harvey, North Gwinnett, long jump, 23-3.5

Daniel Ellis, Collins Hill, 1,600, 4:19.68

Class AAAA

First place

Devin Valentine, Lanier, triple jump, 48-9

Fifth place

Simon Shafack, Lanier, triple jump, 45-7.25

Devin Valentine, Lanier, long jump, 22-8.5

Class AAA

Second place

David Curry, Buford, pole vault, 14-06

Seventh place

Dequavious Picou, Buford, discus, 133-07

Class AA

Third place

Miller Kettle, GAC, 1,600, 4:26.21

Sixth place

Nathan Settlage, Wesleyan, pole vault, 12-6

Class A (Private)

Fifth place

Kevin Randrup, Providence, discus, 133-01

Seventh place

Justin Wright, Providence, high jump, 5-10

Colson Hagan, Hebron, 1,600, 4:33.33

Team Results

Top 10 and Gwinnett schools


  1. Brookwood 25
  2. Lovejoy 20
  3. Parkview 19
  4. Mill Creek 17.5
  5. Roswell 17
  6. Hillgrove 16
  7. Walton 15
  8. Shiloh 14
  9. Newnan 10
  10. Rockdale 10
  11. Newton 10
  12. Harrison 10
  13. South Gwinnett 10
  14. North Gwinnett 9
  15. Collins Hill
  16. Norcross 5
  17. Archer 4
  18. Dacula 1
  19. Berkmar 1

Class AAAA

  1. Redan 33
  2. Marist School 27
  3. Carrollton 26
  4. Lanier 18
  5. LaGrange 14
  6. Westover 12
  7. Eastside 11
  8. Alexander 10
  9. Gilmer 10
  10. Cedartown 1

Class AAA

  1. St. Pius X 63
  2. Cedar Grove 22
  3. North Hall 19
  4. Elbert County Comp 13
  5. Central Carroll 11
  6. Southeast Bulloch 11
  7. Henry County 10.50
  8. White County 10
  9. Coahulla Creek 10
  10. Buford 10

Class AA

  1. Westminster 35.5
  2. Jefferson 32
  3. Lamar County 29
  4. Fitzgerald 22
  5. Calhoun 18
  6. Early County 17.50
  7. Rabun County 12
  8. Bleckley County 11
  9. McIntosh County Academy 10
  10. Lovett 10
  11. GAC 6
  12. Wesleyan 2.5

Class A (Private)

  1. Athens Christian 68
  2. First Presbyterian 33
  3. Our Lady of Mercy 29
  4. Eagle’s Landing Christian 23.50
  5. Mt. Pisgah 15
  6. Whitefield Academy 15
  7. Athens Academy 12
  8. Prince Avenue Christian 12

9 Hebron 8

  1. Galloway 8
  2. Providence Christian 6