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By Steve Brand, Special to the U-T 10:57 P.M.APRIL 26, 2013
ESCONDIDO — You wouldn’t blame Mt. Carmel pole vaulter Kyle Pater if he petitioned to hold the section track and field championships at Escondido High.
Pater soared to an Escondido Invitational meet record and state-leading mark of 16 feet, 3 inches Friday night before missing three tries at a San Diego Section record 16-9.
This is the same site where he soared 16-2½ last year to set the previous meet best. This time he did it with a new pole.
“It’s thicker and it has more pop at the top,” Pater said of the implement he used this time, clearing 15-9 on his first attempt. “I was a little close (to the crossbar) at 16-3, but I still thought I could pull it off.
“I guess you could say it’s my lucky pole now.”
Pater was also pretty sure he would have cleared 16-6, but he decided to go for the record after dropping runner-up Xander Law of Otay Ranch and Escondido’s James Elder at 15-9.
“I’m hoping for the upper 16s by the end of the year, and if I got 17 I’d be out of my mind,” Pater said.
He wasn’t the only one who achieved major milestones.
Carlsbad’s Christian Freeman scored lifetime bests in two events, winning the 1,600 meters in 4 minutes, 11.64 seconds before dipping under 2 minutes in the 800, finishing second in 1:56.06 behind Mt. Carmel’s Jared Senese’s 1:53.95.
The 4:11.64 improved the previous section best this spring by more than five seconds. The first three finishers had their best times with Steven Fahy of La Costa Canyon placing second at 4:13.88 and Garrett Ryan of Westview third at 4:15.89.
“I ran a 4:10 relay leg at Mt. SAC last week and was hoping to get that,” said Freeman, who is headed to Lipscomb University outside of Nashville in the fall. “Or even the meet record (4:11.10). But what I really wanted to do is break 2 minutes in the 800.”
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That race came two hours after his 1,600 and he walked away a happy runner, dipping under 2:00 for the first time in a big way. Freeman is also No. 2 in the state at 3,200 meters and says he may try the distance double.