Lindbergh High School senior Katie Kennedy broke the school girl's pole vault record by three inches Thursday in the Conference Festival at Marquette High School in Chesterfield.
Under cloudy skies and damp, chilly air, Kennedy soared to 10-feet 3-inches with the pole by her side, beating by a full three inches the previous school record of 10 feet, officials said.
Did she know it was going to be that kind of a vault?
"I had no idea" Kennedy said shortly after the winning performance. "It was my first shot, and I felt like it was a little off—I just went."
Kennedy was competing in a festival of all the conference girl's Varsity and Junior Varsity teams including Lindbergh, Oakville, Lafayette, Eureka, Fox, Mehlville, Northwest, Parkway South and others.
"When I found out, I was crying," Kennedy said."It felt so good. But it still hasn't sunk in. I don't even remember most of it." Her friend and teammate, junior Kelly Weiss, was cheering her on. Coach Jim Cary was also there.
Kennedy went 9-feet 6-inches a year ago at the Suburban West Conference, placing third. By May, she was hitting 10 feet. She placed 12th in the state championships last year.
Kennedy has signed with Maryville University to do track next year, according to a Facebook page. Kennedy is also a Lindbergh cheerleader.
According to Lindbergh's Lady Flyers' team website, the previous pole vault school record of 10 feet was held by Morgan Wuch, since 2008.
Kennedy said she joined the Lindbergh team as a freshman, which means she likely knew the former record-holder, Wuch.
The big meet started at 4 p.m. and was expected to run to at least 7 p.m. The stands were packed with supporters from every school. Parents sold the t-shirts for the conference and the concession stand was busy selling pizza slices and fruit to the fit teens in track uniforms.
One parent wrapped in a blanket against the chill, watched a race and excitedly described it to someone on her cell phone, as her daughter neared the finish line. "She's going to win this thing," the mother hollered into the phone.
Family members, coaches and students are encouraged to send more photos of the meet and their own track and field stars to Patch, for posting here.
As more information becomes available, Patch will post it.
Editor's note: The Track & Field Conference T-shirt awarded by Patch to Kennedy was valued at $13.