CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Congratulations, you just won the pole vault at the state meet, what will you do next?
"I'm going to Canada."
That's the case for Capital freshman Tristan Slater, who won the Class AAA pole vault title at the West Virginia track and field state championship on Saturday. Slater, born in North Bay, Ontario, Canada, holds dual citizenship in the United States and Canada, and will look to follow his personal-best effort by attempting to qualify for his homeland's provincial squad.
"I'm going to go for three meets up there, one meet is the qualifier for provincials," Slater said. "I'm going to try to make the provincial team, and if I make the provincial team, I'll go to nationals for Canadians."
If all goes well in Canada, Slater could qualify to attend a July meet in Donetsk, Ukraine. To do so, he'll have to clear 15 feet by June 20.
Slater nearly took care of that qualification on Saturday. He earned the state title when his closest competitor could not pass 13 feet, six inches. After clearing 14 feet, six inches on his second attempt, Slater tried three times at 15 feet. Slater came up short each time, but his performance was hardly disappointing.
"That is my best jump that I have ever made so far," he said. "It is the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. It is the greatest thing.
"If it wasn't for my parents, family, friends, none of this would have happened today. I wouldn't be first."
After living a year in Canada, Slater said he moved to West Virginia. It wasn't until middle school that he discovered pole vault, but fell instantly in love.
"I just got caught on it," Slater said. "I just saw the girls vaulting in sixth grade and I told my coach 'I want to do that sport with the pole.'"
Since, Slater's dedication to the sport has grown exponentially. He practices at his own pole vault pit in his backyard in his Charleston neighborhood near Edgewood.
In addition to competing for Capital, Slater's also part of the Capital City Striders. Slater said he hopes to qualify for AAU nationals and the United States Track and Field nationals.
Poca brothers lead the discus
Poca sophomore Christian Buckley and senior Quentin Buckley finished Nos. 1 and 2 in the boys Class AA discus.
Christian Buckley entered as the state's No. 1 with a season-best throw of nearly 15 feet farther than his closest competitor. On Saturday, Christian Buckley won the event's state title with a throw of 159 feet, four inches. Quentin Buckley finished the regular season rated fourth in Class AA, but exceeded his ranking to finish second alongside his younger brother Christian at the podium. Quentin Buckley claimed runner-up with a throw of 146 feet, 10 inches.
Fellow Dot Jake Hickman also earned All-State honors in the discus with a throw of 144 feet, 0 inches.