For LaGrange’s Jessica Jourden, making the trip to neighboring Heard County is worth the effort.
Jourden is a pole vaulter, and she is unable to practice the sport at home because Granger Park isn’t equipped for it.
To practice, Jourden has to go to Heard County High to use that school’s pole-vaulting pit.
“It’s worth the drive,” Jourden said.
Jourden is one of three LaGrange High girls who’ll be competing in the Class AAAA state sectional on Saturday in Carrollton.
The other two are Sarah Bearden, who’ll race in the 1,600-meter run and the 3,200-meter run, and Denae Hill, who’ll compete in the 400-meter run.
There will be 16 participants in each event, and the top eight finishers will advance to the state finals in Albany.
Jourden began pole-vaulting last season, and she said “it was kind of a spur of the moment” decision.
Turns out she had an acumen for the sport, and now she’s heading to the state sectional.
Jourden said she embraced the sport right from the start, and she’s never had any fear of soaring high into the air.
“It’s better if you don’t think,” she said. “You kind of run at it, and try to land somewhere soft.”
At the Region 5-AAAA meet last week, Jourden finished fourth with a jump of eight feet to earn her invitation to the sectional.
Hill, meanwhile, secured her spot at state by finishing fourth in the 400 at the region meet with a time of 1:01.
Hill began the season as a hurdler, but head coach Davis Russell decided she should specialize in the 400 after she excelled while running a leg on the 1,600-meter relay team.
“Last year, she was a 300-hurdler and set the school record,” Russell said. “Coach (Brad Wilson) and I were sitting in the Atlanta games, and she ran a leg, and she got to about 150 left and she passed about three or four people. She had a ton left, so we said, we’re going to run her in the quarter. Her first meet, she runs a minute flat.”
Hill said her game plan is to “just keep up with the pack, and then break loose at the end.”