By Marty Gordon
For Christiansburg High School’s Rachel Lloyd soaring to new heights is nothing new. She has won back-to-back outdoor pole vault state championships to piggyback her first place at the 3A Indoor state meet.
Because of her effort, Lloyd is this year’s all-county/all-city female field participant of the year.
Lloyd will take her talents to James Madison University in the fall, being the first pole vaulter at the school since 2011. She plans to major in Communication Sciences and Disorders.
“I also chose it because they have a great track and field team and an amazing coach for pole vault,” she said.
The current record for the pole vault at JMU is 12 ft. 1/2 inch, easily reachable for a Lloyd whose personal record is 12 ft. indoors. Not bad for someone who only started vaulting 18 months ago.
“I am so excited to be a part of a new team (at JMU), and I thank God for all of the opportunities I have been given,” she said.
Of course, Lloyd admits female pole vaulters are not a majority when it comes to the track and field world. Instead, they are a minority because of the limited number of girls vaulting and sometimes have to compete against the boys.
“At high school meets, they often run boys and girls together, and I end up competing against many boys who hit the same marks as I do or I end up beating a lot of them,” she joked. “I love seeing that girls can be just as strong and fast as the boys.”
Across the county, Katelyn Wolfe placed first in the 3200-meter Class 4 championship, helping the Blacksburg girls’ team to another state title. For her effort, she is this year’s all-county/all-city track athlete of the year.
The male track athlete for the spring is Ethan Mills, another Christiansburg standout. He will suit up for Virginia Tech later this year. He claimed both the 1600 and 800-meter titles in Class 3.
Blacksburg’s Tiquest Terry excelled in the high jump this spring and is the all-county/all-city field participant of the year. He will play football this fall at Youngstown State.