Cursing pole vaulter gets meet-record national-title redemption

Cameron Smith

In June, Prep Rally reported about Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola's failed state title bid, which fell short after pole vaulter Evan Barr uttered a curse word which disqualified him from the competition.

Loyola's boys track team after winning the Nike Track Nationals

It turns out that Loyola achieved something even more significant weeks later, thanks to Barr and a handful of other teammates: It won the national title at the Nike Track Nationals in Eugene, Ore.

The Cubs emerged as champions of the 30-team, national event with a total of 8,294 points, 20 points more than Murrieta (Calif.) Vista High, which finished in second place. Houston (Texas) North Shore High was the only other school to finish within 100 points of Loyola's championship total.

Barr also helped redeem himself personally at the national event, crushing the competition en route to a first-place clearance of 15-feet-11, more than two feet higher than any other vaulter. That height also set a meet record, breaking the previous mark of 15-feet-5 set by Phoenix (Ariz.) Brophy Prep athlete Alex Bishop in 2010.

As highlighted by the Los Angeles Times, shot putter Nick Budincich (a personal-record 61-feet-10.5 toss) and middle distance runner Elias Gedyon, who clocked the third-fastest American 1,500-meter time of the year, also starred in Loyola's Track Nationals title-winning performance.

The victory may not change the California Interscholastic Federation record book, which will still show that Loyola finished second at the state meet, but it certainly seems to go a long way toward proving that redemption is always possible in sports, especially for teenagers who have a costly but minor slip up.

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