Gennifer Hirata wasn’t feeling her best at the Commonwealth Games last weekend at Liberty University.

The Stafford High School senior pole vault specialist had a rough warm-up. It was regularly taking three attempts to register a height.

But Hirata continued to dig deep. And on one attempt she was able to clear 13 feet, 3 inches, which is the all-time high school indoor record in Virginia.

Hirata was competing unattached, so she’s awaiting word if the record will be ratified and placed in the Virginia High School League record books.

Hirata wasn’t anticipating her record-breaking performance.

“In practice we jump with a bungee which is a lot different than a bar because it pulls down and bends,” Hirata said. “I wasn’t completely sure how far I could jump. I jumped 12-6 with a bar in practice but I had no idea I’d be able to clear that height.”

Hirata plans to compete free and easy this year. That’s because she signed a national letter of intent with South Dakota University last month. With her future secure, there’s no telling how high she’ll soar this winter and spring.

“I don’t really have a goal height-wise, but I’d like to get a lot faster and a lot stronger and get on bigger poles,” Hirata said. “I just want to go as high as I can and keep on competing.”

KAISER WINS HONOR

There were more than 100 nominations and 16 finalists, but Brooke Point senior wrestling and baseball standout Jason Kaiser emerged as one of four winners of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame Student-Athlete Achievement Awards.

The ceremony was held this past Sunday in Virginia Beach. Kaiser is a wrestling state qualifier who helped the Black-Hawks win back-to-back state championships. He has a 4.62 GPA and has earned numerous academic awards, including the Virginia House of Delegates Academic Excellence Award. He’s also been named a National High School Coaches Association All-American and is a member of the National Honor Society and the Spanish Honor Society.

Kaiser serves as President of the Future Conservative Leaders of America Club. He’s a member of the Brooke Point NJROTC and is currently the Battalion Executive officer. He oversees more than 150 cadets in the program.

Kaiser will attend the United States Naval Academy. He plans on receiving a military commission as a Marine Officer and later hopes to run for public office.

BENTZ MAKES CUT

King George swimming standout Caroline Bentz has achieved her first Olympic Trials cut in the 100-meter backstroke (1:02.04). She accomplished the mark at the Winter Nationals Championship last week in Greensboro, N.C. It was the first opportunity for swimmers to achieve Olympic Trials qualifying times for 2020.

WATSON PLACES SECOND

Mountain View golf standout Andrew Watson placed second at the College Prep Golf Tour Kingsmill Tour Championship this past weekend in Williamsburg.

Watson had a last-day low 75 at the River Course to finish three back (14-over 158) of Virginia Beach’s James Tyler. Watson had two birdies and made no worse than bogey in the final round to improve upon his first day score by eight shots.

JM TOURNEY UPCOMING

James Monroe is hosting a Christmas basketball tournament for the second year in a row Dec. 27-29. There will be four games each day starting at 1 p.m.

The eight-team event tips off with Armstrong taking on Spotsylvania, followed by King George against North Stafford, Courtland vs. Essex and the host Yellow Jackets taking on Colgan.

EAGLES PLAY FOR PREEMIES

The girls basketball teams at Colonial Forge and Louisa are two of 12 programs that will take part in the Play For Preemies showcase event Jan. 5 at Western Albemarle High School.

The event’s goal is to raise awareness and funds for premature birth at the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital and Carilion Clinic Children’s Hospital in Roanoke.

It’s the third year of the event, which was started by Western Albemarle coach Kris Wright, who is the father of premature children. More than $6,500 was donated from the first two years of the event.

OFFERS FLOWING IN

Massaponax senior kicker Jonathan Kim has picked up a preferred walk-on opportunity at Old Dominion. Former Colonial Forge kicker Jadon Redding, who graduated in June, has orally committed to University of Utah.

Spotsylvania senior offensive tackle Terry Saddler has picked up a scholarship offer from Bluefield College, an NAIA program in southwest Virginia. Spotsylvania rushed for 3,197 yards and 45 touchdowns this past season with 1,528 yards and 24 scores coming directly behind Saddler.



Taft Coghill Jr: 540/374-5526

tcoghill@freelancestar.com

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