http://www.statesmanjournal.com/article ... 10336/1018
South Salem senior Katie Sime has excelled with pole vaulting, hurdles
BY BILL POEHLER • STATESMAN JOURNAL
June 21, 2009
Rob Wood had a hunch that the little girl who climbed mountains would make a good pole vaulter.
The South Salem High School coach and his family moved down the street from Katie Sime and her family after he was hired at South Salem in 2003.
From neighborhood barbeques, Wood got to know the Sime family and found out that Katie competed in track and field in middle school, running the hurdles and sprinting.
But it was her mountain climbing that raised Wood's curiosity.
"We've got this cool event in high school called the pole vault," Wood told her.
Wood was persuasive enough to convince Sime to give it a shot.
She grew into the pole vault on her own.
Sime went from clearing 6-foot-6 in her first competition as a freshman to clearing 10-foot-10 as a senior. She will be heading to Division I Eastern Washington to compete in the event.
"It was the summer after my sophomore year," Sime said. "I was getting better and I was like 'I could be good at this if I tried.' I went out to Paul (Wilson) at Cascade High School. I had a lot of fun there and sometimes I wasn't very focused.
"Rob told me about this place in Portland and I went there the winter of my junior year because Paul didn't have anything inside. It was really organized and structured. It was nice because everyone was there for the same reason: To get better at pole vault."
While competing in pole vault — she placed fourth in the state this year at 10-foot-6 — Sime stuck with the hurdles and turned in her fastest time, 14.94 seconds, finishing second at the Class 6A state meet.
Sime is the Statesman Journal All-Mid-Valley female track and field athlete of the year.
Sime grew up playing club soccer and became a standout defender — she was a first-team all-Central Valley Conference selection as a senior.
She did track and field in middle school to stay in shape for soccer.
It wasn't long before her potential in track and field took over for soccer.
She cleared 9-6 as a sophomore and made it to the state meet where she cleared 9-0 to place 12th.
"My sophomore year, I went to state and I walked onto Hayward Field," she said. "Oh my word, I was so scared. All I wanted to do was get over opening height."
Sime started traveling to Oregon City twice per week to work with the Willamette Striders while playing with the Cascade Futbol Club's Liberty team.
"It was hard," Sime said. "It was definitely a lot different. My junior year when I went up to Portland during winter, Monday, Wednesday I'd go up there, and Tuesday, Thursday I'd have practice, and weekends I had games. It was a lot on my body."
This year she gave up soccer — she hasn't played since the Saxons' state playoff loss — to train solely with the Willamette Striders.
She has decided to give up soccer for college and compete in track and field at Eastern Washington.
"It's definitely going to be super weird not playing soccer at all," Sime said. "I'm sure they don't want me doing any intramural soccer."
She will be a walk-on with the track and field team, but will compete in pole vault and the hurdles.
That Sime was a proficient hurdler is a benefit to her vaulting.
"A lot of events really work well together," Wood said. "The rhythm you do with the pole vault is good with the rhythm that you do in the hurdles."
Sime continually has improved in the 100 hurdles.
She placed fifth in the state in the event as a junior.
Her personal records have improved by nearly a second per year — from 17.14 as a freshman to 14.94 as a senior — and her second-place finish at the state meet this year was her first at under 15 seconds.
"That was exciting," she said. "I definitely think I have room to improve. My form's not perfect going over the hurdles. I just needed some good weather to run well.
"The last couple of meets we had, the weather was good and my times got faster each race. I definitely have room to improve."
Sime's greatest improvement in both the pole vault and hurdles may come as a result of being able to focus on track and field at Eastern Washington, located in Cheney, Wash.
"I think she's going to be in a situation that the weather's going to be more consistent than around here," Wood said. "Her focusing more now that she's a college athlete just on track, she's just going to do great.
"The pole vault is such a technical event. She's gone 10-10, but she's on the verge of going 12 feet. It's just a matter of getting the right jump on a right pole. There's just a few things that are keeping her from going really high."
Sime has never been afraid of heights.
Be it mountain climbing or pole vaulting, Sime has always tried to go higher.
Then there's her next adventure.
"I actually want to go skydiving sometime," she said. "My grandpa is talking about going some time."
South Salem senior pole vaulter and hurdler Katie Sime is the All-Mid-Valley girls track and field athlete of the year.
TEAM: South Salem
COLLEGE: Eastern Washington
DISTRICT PLACING: Central Valley Conference champion in the pole vault and 100 meter hurdles, third in the 100 meter dash, fourth in the 300 hurdles.
STATE PLACING: Second in the 100 hurdles, fourth in the pole vault.
GYMNASTICS: As part of her training with the Willamette Striders, Sime does some cross training. "I do stuff on the rings and a couple things on the uneven bars. But I'm not doing gymnastics things. I'm doing drills that you use that equipment."
SUMMER JOB: Working with her father, Bill, at his law office. "I just do depo summaries and medical summaries. I take a lot of breaks."
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