Hrbek sets county record in pole vault at BMOC by Paul Schwartz of The Record
HACKENSACK – The best boys pole vault competition in Bergen County history ended with both the first-place and second-place finishers with big smiles on their faces to match the big vaults they produced.
Tyler Hrbek now holds the Bergen County outdoor record in the event after clearing 15 feet 5 inches on his second event to win the event at the Lou Lanzalotto Bergen Meet of Champions Friday at the Ed Church Track and Field Facility at Hackensack High School. And he needed every inch.
“Liam pushed me so hard that I knew I’d have to jump that high to win,’’ said Hrbek, who broke the old county outdoor mark (and school record) of 15-4½ set by Luke Annichiarico in 2014, and in the process broke the 26-year-old meet record set by former county record holder Matt Psaltis of Fair Lawn at 15-1.
In fact Landau tied the record by clearing 15-1 on his first attempt to briefly take the lead in the classic battle that saw both clear 13-9, 14-3 and 14-8 before the record-tying and setting attempts.
But Hrbek answered right back and then majestically went over the bar at 15-5 and received enthusiastic kudos from his parents, coaches, teammates and fellow competitors, including Landau, who still have two attempts left at 15-5.
“The last week I’ve been jumping well and I always love to try and take down Tyler, because he’s so good,’’ said Landau, whose 14-8 clearance qualified him for outdoor nationals and 15-1 made him just the seventh Bergen vaulter at 15 feet or better.
Hrbek then had three tries at 15-7, which would qualify him for the seeded flight at Nationals and he called his first jump at the height his best of the night.
“I’ve still got four or five meets left (starting with Monday’s East coast Relays to get it and maybe get 16 feet too,’’ said Hrbek, the state indoor champion. “And I’d better get it up there (the record) because Liam’s going to take it from me next spring.’’
Hrbek won the Ed Church Field Award for outstanding performance.
The Paul Schwartz Girls Field Award went to Jenna Rogers, who admits she was a little scared until she learned that the foot injury she had suffered late in the indoor season wouldn’t get any worse. But she also admits that the three weeks of training she missed in late April and early May made her appreciate her sport even more now that she’s returned to action.
Friday, the Rutherford sophomore broke the 20-year-old meet record in the high jump when she cleared 5-10 on the first attempt to win her second consecutive title, and had a great attempt at 6 feet.
“Having a break when I did turned out to be very beneficial,’’ said Rogers. “It’s not something I’m used to but it turned out to be a good thing because when I got back I was really excited to be able to jump again.’’
Rogers has looked to get more consistent this spring which she describes as limiting her misses and making heights on first attempts. She succeeded Friday, clearing 5-4, 5-6, 5-8 and 5-10 without a miss before finally missing at 6 feet.
“I’ve moved my approach out to a 10 step approach from the 9 I was using last year, and I’m definitely motivated to win the state championship that I missed out on last year.”
Ramapo junior Mike Connor says his javelin win last year was a bit of fluke. The then sophomore was just fooling around with the event and had a 21 foot PR, throwing 173 to win the 2017 title.
This year Connor has gotten serious, and the result a second straight title, this time at 177 feet and a much more consistent approach to the event, where he has become a student.
“I have a lot more respect for the event now,’’ said Connor, who works with former All-American and two-time state champ Kaleb Zuidema on occasion. “Last year winning this meet kind of blew my mind and I did poorly at sectionals. This year I work harder and watch films of Olympic throwers and I really have enjoyed it more.’’