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Hanson, Ralstin win track titles

By: Matt Long
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For the fifth time this season, Brian Hanson broke the Oak Ridge school record in the pole vault and he’ll have one more chance to break it again. Hanson won the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championship on Friday, clearing the bar at 15 feet, 6 inches, and will compete Friday and Saturday at the state championships at Buchanan High School in Clovis. Teammates Samantha Ralstin, Sarah Vaughn and Holli Arrieta will join Hanson, as the four will represent Oak Ridge High. Ralstin won the Masters 800-meter run, while Arrieta placed third, while Vaughn took second in the high jump. Prior to the beginning of this season, 2009 Oak Ridge graduate Alek Hoffman held the school record in the pole vault at 14’6”, a mark he set last season. Hanson’s topped that mark early this season and has continued to raise the bar and clear it throughout the season. “It’s been a really good season for me,” Hanson said. “It’s just been a lot of hard work and good coaching from John Hardwick, my dad, Chris Hanson and Tyler Bickley.” Hanson has family bragging rights in the vault, as the best his dad did in high school was 13’6”. But Hanson has bigger goals in mind and it has nothing to do with a earning a state medal, though that would be nice. Hanson will attend UCLA this fall and if he can clear 16’ on the pole vault, he would make the school’s track team. “My ultimate goal is 16 because the coach said I’d be on the team if I cleared it,” Hanson said. Hanson had two good attempts at 16’ on Friday, but just missed. He said he could clear it at state. If he does, he would likely have a good chance to win the meet as well. “The state leader has cleared 17’6”, but he’s injured and won’t be there,” Hanson said. “The second-best is 16’2” so it’s a pretty wide-open competition. It’s anyone’s game.” Hanson said he hopes to vault a personal-best at the state meet. While that would mean anything over 15’6”, make no mistake, he wants 16’0” in a big way. Ralstin, a junior, also won a Masters title on Friday, winning the 800 meters in 2 minutes, 14.70 seconds. After finishing second in the 800 meters the last two years, Ralstin finally won it. Now she's looking for an improving at the state meet. "My freshman year I didn't know what I was doing and ran a 2:18," Ralstin said. "Last year I ran a 2:15 and just missed the finals by two steps. This year I hope to make the finals, which is top-nine, and ultimately, make the podium, which is a top-six finish." Arrieta ran third with a personal-best time of 2:16.20 to also qualify for the state meet. Though not her personal best, Vaughn cleared the bar in the high jump at 5’5” to place second and also qualified for the state meet. Timery Mueller, Jessica Emde and Shannon Trumbell just missed out on qualifying, as each placed fourth in their respective events. Mueller placed fourth in the long jump (17’ 8 ¾”); Emde was fourth in the high jump (5’3”), while Trumbell finished fourth in the 100-meter hurdles (15.47).