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Hokanson takes home the title in the pole vault

Perham's Ashley Hokanson focuses in as she gets ready to go on the pole vault. The Perham junior captured the state championship with her winning height of 11 feet, seven inches. Jason Groth/FOCUS

Perham junior Ashley Hokanson continues to rewrite the school record book. In just her second year of competing in the pole vault she added the state’s top prize to her trophy case. Hokanson cleared 11 feet, seven inches to capture the Class A Championship.

“I didn’t think I would ever win,” Hokanson said. “I just go out there and try to do my best. Winning is a treat.”

Ashley Hokanson clears the bar in the pole vault.

Hokanson may have been one of the few competitors happy that the event was moved inside because she is not a fan of the rain.

“Even if it was going to shower a little bit, I was happy to have it indoors, even though I love vaulting outdoors,” Hokanson said. “I have done a couple of indoor meets, so it wasn’t a bad transition. I liked it because there was no wind to worry about.”

Hokanson entered the contest as the No. 1 seed and followed through with the win. She defeated Concordia-Academy’s Rachel TerHaar, who came in second at 11 feet. TerHaar was seeded second in the event.

Hokanson had a pair of misses early, at 10 feet, six inches and 11 feet. She was able to clear them on her second try and nailed 11 feet, three inches in her first try to win the championship. She continued on and hit 11 feet, seven inches in her first attempt. She was unable to clear the bar at 11 feet, nine inches, which would have qualified her for nationals.

The junior has become a natural at the pole vault. She has now won two medals at the Class A Championships. She earned third place honors in her first career appearance and followed it up with this year’s first place finish.

“I never thought this would have happened. It’s amazing,” Hokanson said. “I love pole vaulting. I started at a camp and I loved it ever since.”

Another key that helped ease the nerves for Hokanson was having a pair of teammates competing alongside her. Sydney Bahls finished fourth at 10 feet, six inches and Shalie Lipp finished at 10 feet for 10th place.

“It went by really fast especially with my two teammates, Sydney (Bahls) and Shalie (Lipp),” Hokanson said. “It helped to have them and you feel more comfortable with your teammates there.”

Jason Groth

 Groth is a Minnesota Newspaper Association award-winning Sports Editor of the Perham Focus and the Wadena Pioneer Journal. Groth worked in Grand Rapids as the Sports Director at KOZY/KMFY radio for two years and prior to that he was the Sports Editor/Writer for the Grand Rapids Herald-Review for seven years. 

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