CLINTON — Every time Ashford senior Michael Malone approaches the bar during the pole vault, the goal is to reach new heights. 

Malone, who qualified for the national meet last weekend when he met NAIA ‘A’ level qualifying standards in the pole vault, won the event Friday at the Ashford Spring Classic. He cleared the 14-foot-11 mark despite going into 20 mile-an-hour winds.

“You have to play into the wind,” Malone said. “When you have a headwind, you have to wait for it to slow down, and with a tailwind, it’s even better to help you jump higher.”

The pole vaulters had to head into the wind, which can be a scary thing for those who dare to jump higher.

“You basically don’t have any control of your pole, the wind has control of it,” Malone said. “With that, you can’t keep your pole straight running down the runway. That’s why we wait for the wind to die down.” 

At the 4.55-meter mark, Malone didn’t clear his first two attempts, but he did on the third and final try to clinch the meet title. He also tried to clear the 4.70-meter mark but did not on all three attempts.

Malone started pole vaulting as a high school student in the Chicago area.

“A couple of my high school coaches asked me one day my freshman year if I wanted to do it, and I said, ‘Hey, let’s give it a try,’ “ he said. “I jumped really well my first time and just went on from there. I had to be calm and collected, and knew I had to get the job done.”

The NAIA outdoor national meet is May 21-23 in Gulf Shores, Alabama, and Malone realizes the magnitude of being a four-time national meet qualifier.

“It’s huge,” he said. “I qualified for all four years, both indoor and outdoor. It’s a huge stepping stone, and I didn’t perform as well at indoors, so I hope to show my stripes at this next one.”

Malone was also part of the winning entry in the 1,600-meter relay (3:30.90). The other three Saints involved in the race were Raymond Anderson, Dion Williams and Martell Simon.

Fulton alumnus Jerry Sikkema came close to breaking an Ashford school record — which he broke last year.

In his last home meet, the Saints senior had his best throw in the second flight of the hammer throw at 147 feet, 8 inches, just under 4 inches short of the school record. It also was the seventh-best throw at the Ashford Spring Classic.

“It feels good to go out with a bang on your last home meet,” Sikkema said. “It also means a lot to make a little bit more of an impact on your school program.

“It just felt good, my lines felt smooth, and when I went into my first turn, it felt smooth,” Sikkema said of his best throw of the season. “I’ve been struggling with my third turn, I usually get my feet wide, but I had my feet closer,  which felt good.”

Sikkema wasn’t recruited by anyone coming out of Fulton, and his first intention was to come and be a sprinter because that’s what he did in high school.

“I thought I was coming to be a runner, actually,” Sikkema said. “When I got the school record last year, it was even more of an accomplishment. It felt a little bit great.”

While breaking the school record (148 feet) is Sikkema’s best accomplishment, he has his eyes set on qualifying for nationals.

“I want one more notch in my belt before I go,” he said. 

The Steamer graduate also competed in the discus before the hammer throw and finished ninth. His best throw in the event was 34.77 meters (114 feet, 1 inch).

Both Ashford men’s and women’s teams finished third Friday.

Saints freshman Dominique Walls won the 400 meter dash in 54.88 seconds, while on the women’s side, Syndia Delgado and Clinton native Shelby Weets went 1-2 in the 800 with times to 2:41.13 and 2:46.28. 

Senior Ellerie Lagerhausen won the 5,000-meter race walk as the only competitor in 33 minutes, 9 seconds.




Women’s results

Team results

1. Monmouth (Ill.) 211; 2. Carthage 95; 3. Ashford 60; 4. Knox 19; 5. Rockford 10.

Individual results 

(Winner, Ashford placewinners)

100 meter dash — 1. Beka Wollenburg (Monmouth) 13.07.

200 — 1. Wollenburg (Monmouth) 26.22.

400 — Isabella Kosier (Monmouth) 1:03.98; 3. Ieva Eida (AU) 1:05.80.

800 — 1. Syndia Delgado (Ashford) 2:41.13; 2. Shelby Weets (Ashford) 2:46.28.

1,500 — 1, Kyra Kimber (Monmouth) 4:58.80.

5,000 — 1. Kimber (Monmouth) 18:39.41.

100 hurdles — 1. Stephanie O’Dell (Monmouth) 16.53.

400 hurdles — 1. O’Dell (Monmouth) 1:12.43.

400 meter relay — 1. Monmouth 50.90.

High jump — 1. Madison Schulenberg (Monmouth) 5-1; 4. Cassidy Chambers 4-11.

Long jump — 1. Ashley Castellanos (Monmouth) 15-7; 2. Eida (Ashford) 15-2.75.

Shot put — 1. Morgan Young (Carthage) 41-7.25; 3. Brooke Willson (Ashford) 38-9.5; 8. Olivia Ferguson (Ashford) 35-8.5.

Discus — 1. Young (Carthage) 139-2; 10. Willson (Ashford) 83-2; 11. Ferguson (Ashford) 81-2.

Hammer throw — 1. Erin Maul (Monmouth) 167-1; 5. Ariel Hudson (Ashford) 128-7; 7. Olivia Ferguson (Ashford) 112-7; 11. Willson (Ashford) 88-6. 

Javelin throw — 1. Elante Slowek (Carthage) 102-1; 3. Chelsea King (Ashford) 89-9.

5000 race walk — 1. Ellerie Lagerhausen (Ashford) 33:09.87.



Team standings

1. Carthage 207; 2. Monmouth 165; 3. Ashford 67; 4. Knox 52; 5. Rockford 18.

Individual results

(Winners, Ashford placewinners)

100 — 1. Adam Parr (Monmouth) 11.16; 3. Michael Malone (Ashford) 11.27; 5. Dion Williams (Ashford) 11.33; 7. Lucas Almeida (Ashford) 11.34; 11. Joshua Anim Anno (Ashford) 11.52; 12. Raymond Anderson (Ashford) 11.72; 13. Dominique Walls (Ashford) 11.81.

200 — 1. Ethan Reschke (Monmouth) 21.34; 4. Williams (AU) 22.69; 5. Anim Anno (AU) 23.47; 8. Almeida (AU) 24.01.

400 — 1. Walls (AU) 54.88; 3. Colton Peterson (AU) 56.70.

800 — 1. Ezekial Jere (Knox) 2:05.41.

1,500 — 1. Josh Tvrdy (Knox) 4:23.49.

5,000 — 1. Camren Howard (Carthage) 15:57.80.

110 hurdles — 1. Ed Awah (Unattached) 16.12.

400 hurdles — 1. John O’ Connor (Monmouth) 59.98.

400 relay — 1. Monmouth 42.11; 2. Ashford (Anim Anno, Martell Simon, Williams, Malone) 42.96.

800 relay — 1. Ashford (Anderson, Williams, Malone, Simon) 3:30.90.

High jump — 1. AJ Smith (Unattached) 6-4.

Pole vault — 1. Malone (Ashford) 14-11.

Long jump — 1. Thadd Perry (Unattached) 20-10.75.

Triple jump — 1. Perry (Un) 41-2.25.

Shot put — 1. Branden Miller (Carthage) 51-11.25; 12. Jerry Sikkema (AU) 37-1.75; 16. Jeff Callahan (AU) 29-11.5.

Discus — 1. Mark Balmes (Carthage) 160-2; 9. Sikkema (AU) 114-1.

Hammer throw — 1. Miller (Carthage) 173-11; 7. Sikkema (AU) 147-8.

Javelin — 1. Miller (Carthage) 159-1; 7. Callahan (AU) 110-7.

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