Bailey soars to state title in pole vault

Published 8:49 am Thursday, May 23, 2024

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MURFREESBORO –  It was a great day to be a Happy Valley Warrior at the 2024 TSSAA Division I, Class A-AA State Track and Field Championship at MTSU’s Dean Hayes Stadium in Murfreesboro.

All athletes who made the trip from Warrior Hill to participate in the meet returned home with All-State honors as they finished in the top eight of their respective events.

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Leading the way was state champion Tyler Bailey, whose 12-00.00 effort earned him the gold over teammate Julian Pate, who finished as the runner-up in the event with a vault of 11-06.00.

Another Northeast Tennessee athlete, Nolan Weems of South Greene, made it a top-three sweep for the area as Weems was just six inches behind Pate’s effort with a top mark of 11-00.00.

The points earned by Bailey and Pate helped the Warrior boys finish in 13th place with 18 points out of 44 participating teams.

On the girls’ side in field events, Kadence Carroll captured an All-State place on the podium, finishing sixth in the girls’ triple jump with an effort of 32-01.00. Josephine Zeoli also claimed an All-State selection, finishing eighth in the girls’ long jump with a leap of 14-07.00.

Happy Valley’s girls’ team finished in 30th place out of 37 teams with four points.

“We are very excited about all our athletes’ performances,” said Warrior head track coach Matt Estep. “Tyler winning the state championship was the perfect way to cap off our season! He is our first track state champion since Natalie Newsome in 2019 and first male since David Hughes in 2003.

“Julian is a very deserving runner-up. They have pushed each other to excel this year, and it is a huge accomplishment for our program to have the top two finishers at state.”

Estep also was pleased with the effort by his pair of Lady Warriors, who will return for another shot next season.

“On the girls’ side, Kadence becomes our first All-State female triple jumper and also has the school record, and Josephine has improved her long jump by roughly a foot every year,” Estep said. “They will both be great senior leaders for us next year, and we know it will be their best season yet.”