PEQUOT LAKES -- Jessica O'Neill started something three years ago and she won't stop until someone makes her.
O'Neill, a senior at Pequot Lakes High School, started her track and field career her sophomore year and now she's one of the top pole vaulters in the area.
O'Neill won the long jump and the pole vault at the Subsection 24 meet Thursday at Pequot Lakes.
O'Neill's 15 feet, 2 1/2 inches was almost an inch farther than the rest of the long jump competition. In the pole vault, O'Neill reached 8-6 to tie her school record and to advance to the Section 6A tournament Thursday in Moorhead. She was also fifth in the 100-meter dash with a time of 13.55.
Her speed is one of her best assets in the long jump and pole vault.
"I think that I can support my own body weight and speed is another key to the pole vault," said O'Neill. "I'm not the fastest girl on the team but I can get my body up there."
O'Neill can. In fact she holds the Pequot school record with her 8-6 effort. She broke the conference record and the subsection record this year, as well. Breaking the record was one of her goals.
"I wanted to set the Pequot Lakes High School record for girls' pole vault," said O'Neill. "I wanted to clear 8-6. I had the record last year at 8-0, but I was tied with another girl.
"I also wanted to do my long jump better and I think I'm doing that."
O'Neill is the co-valedictorian and she participates in student council, volleyball, band and choir. Next year the senior will attend the University of St. Thomas. For now she's concentrating on advancing to the state tournament, another one of her goals this spring.
"It's kind of far off, but that would be a very strong goal of mine," said the senior. "I'll practice for two more days and then sections is on Thursday.
"I'm getting nervous. I have one more track meet to do what I've always really wanted to do and that's clear 9 feet, so I'm very nervous and excited."
O'Neill started participating in the pole vault after watching teammate Jeremiah Duvall and she just wanted to try the event.
"At first I didn't go very high but it was fun," said O'Neill. "I just never gave up and had a lot of fun doing it."
Other notable performances:
Softball -- Emma Hoglund held the Aitkin Gobblers to just two hits in an 11-1 Pequot Lakes win. Hoglund struck out seven and allowed just one run.
Verndale's Cherice Fuller hit a home run and knocked in four RBI as the Pirates defeated New York Mills 16-4.
Golf -- Mary Hasselberg was the individual medalist at the North Subsection 6A golf meet Thursday in Fergus Falls. She carded a round of 75.
Samantha Welle of the Crosby-Ironton Rangers shot an 83 to earn individual medalist honors at the Subsection 1, Section 7A golf tournament May 22 in Hinckley.
Track -- Jacque Peterson of Staples-Motley won the 300-meter hurdles and the high jump at the Subsection 24 meet Thursday.
Erin Cusac of Pine River-Backus won the 100- and 200-meter dashes at the Subsection 24 meet Thursday.
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