JACKSONVILLE -- It was only fitting that the Gale sisters went out with another winning effort in the pole vault at the Class 1A State High School Track Meet Friday held at the University of North Florida track.
Amanda and Emily have dominated the event in recent years and after Emily’s winning performance in the pole vault a year ago, sister Amanda took the honors this time. Her winning effort of 12-6, the same height that Emily cleared in winning the 2012 title, was good enough to beat all others, including the 12-0 height that her sister reached this year in earning a third place finish.
The Gale sisters’ 16 points was nearly half of Calvary Christian’s team total of 42 which was good for a third place finish, well behind the 76 points of runaway winning Maclay.
Like a good teammate and an even better sister, Emily was among Amanda’s biggest supporters once the former dropped out of the competition at 12 feet.
“Once I was out, I told her to go jump 12-6 today and win the thing for me,” Emily said.
Her sister nailed the request. Once she had clinched first place with the 12-6 effort, a personal best, she set her sights on the state record of 12-10. She narrowly missed on her first two efforts before falling short on her third and final attempt.
“I was really pleased with my performance today,” Amanda Gale said. “I was runner up at 11-6 a year ago, so that’s a foot better this year in winning the event. The biggest reason for the improvement was that I was relatively healthy all season.
“Plus, I took treatments this year for the immune deficiencies that I have. That helped a lot.”
The twin girls have the same ailment. Their bodies cannot fight off diseases on their own. As a result both must take treatments in order to be at full strength.
The inseparable sisters will next take their talents to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette where they’ll continue their pole vaulting next fall.
They shared county honors in this year’s state meet with Adanaca Brown, the talented hurdler from Upperroom Christian. Brown won both the 100- and 300-meter hurdle events with ease, setting a personal record of 49.3 in the 300 and posing a time of 14.22, just off her personal best of 14 flat set earlier this spring.
“I worked very hard this year so I feel I deserve this,” Brown said, adjusting the two gold medals around her neck. “There’s been a lot of sweat and tears and I’ve cried, but with the work I put in, I deserve these.
“I’m really excited about the [personal record] I got in the 300. And then I came back with a real good time of 14.2 in the 100, so this has been a real good day, especially when you add in the long jump.”
Brown accounted for all 26 of her team’s total points, good for a sixth-place tie with Evangelical Christian School. She also placed third in the long jump competition. She indicated that she’ll be attending college in the fall but hasn’t made a decision on where as of now. That’s when she’ll begin her earnest training for the eventual goal of competing on a world-wide basis.
“The goal is the 2016 Olympics, that’s what I’m after,” she said with a smile. I want to take the track far. I love track, have a strong passion for it. I’ll be competing in the 400 hurdles in college and hopefully on to the Olympics after that.”