Sports

Broomfield’s Lilly Nichols sets Colorado girls pole vaulting record to claim Class 5A title


May 16:Lilly Nichols, of Broomfield, has tears of joy after winning the 5A pole vault during the first day of the Colorado State Track and Field Championships on May 16, 2024.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

LAKEWOOD — When Broomfield senior Lilly Nichols first cleared the 13-foot, 7-inch bar at the state track and field championships on Thursday afternoon, she had already won her third Class 5A crown and set a personal record.

Then she kept going.

Nichols decided to go for the all-Colorado girls pole vault record of 13-9, which Andrea Willis set in 2016. She easily cleared 13-9.25 on her first attempt, then cupped her hands to her mouth through tears. When she topped 14 feet a handful of minutes later, the spectators at JeffCo Stadium erupted.

Once again, Nichols broke down crying.

“I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, what is happening?’” she recounted. “I’m still shaking. I’m like, ‘This can’t be real.’ And then I made 14. I’m super excited. It’s great.”

Lilly Nichols AGAIN!! The @Eagle_athletics senior not only breaks the all-Colorado record that she set a few minutes ago, but she easily clears 14 feet!@BoCoPreps @CHSAA @MooreAshleyE @BrentWNew @MattDSchubert @coloradopreps pic.twitter.com/vWm3NqkcSZ

— Alissa Noe (@crazysportgirl1) May 16, 2024

A year earlier, Fairview’s Olivia Kosanovich beat her out for the 5A crown. Nichols tapped out at 12-7, a full 17 inches below the mark she ended her high school career on. That set her down a path of pure dominance and repeated PRs just before she heads off to Arkansas State to kick off her collegiate career.

She owed it all to her mom, Anna, who vaulted in Poland before an injury ended her career, as well as her own mental fortitude.

“I had a lot of hard moments and my mom, she was around me at every point of every day, my best friend — everything to me. She would always be like, ‘You can do it Lilly. I’m rooting for you. I’m on your side,’” Nichols said. “I do a lot of grounding exercises, because I feel like if you aren’t in your own mind, you can’t control your own body. Once you’re in tune with yourself, then everything will go your way.”

May 16:Lilly Nichols, of Broomfield, has tears of joy after winning the 5A pole vault during the first day of the Colorado State Track and Field Championships on May 16, 2024.(Cliff Grassmick/Staff Photographer)

Everything certainly went her way this season. The journey, Anna said, was long and undulating from the time Lilly first picked up the sport at age 9 as a sort of hobby.

“I really didn’t think she was going to be jumping, quite frankly. But then, with time going by, she was getting better and better,” Anna said. “She’s kind of short. I mean, you can’t deny it when you look at other girls.

“She’s always been very good at everything she touches, sport-wise, but never really stuck to anything. It was really come and go. I just thought eventually, when it was going to get hard, she was just going to leave it and move on to something else, and she never did.”

Instead, Lilly focused on building up her muscles and her mental game, and …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports

      

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