Riddle This: Valley Vista’s Cole Riddle adds quarter-inch to 27-year-old state record in pole vault

Valley Vista High School’s Cole Riddle added a quarter-inch to the Arizona high school state record in the pole vault with a jump of  17-feet, 5-inches in Wednesday’s Last Chance Meet at Desert Vista High School. Photos courtesy of Elliott Glick and YourWestValley.com

Valley Vista High School’s Cole Riddle added a quarter-inch to the Arizona high school state record in the pole vault with a jump of 17-feet, 5-inches in Wednesday’s Last Chance Meet at Desert Vista High School. Photos courtesy of Elliott Glick and YourWestValley.com

Valley Vista High School’s Cole Riddle took down one of Arizona’s most revered state track and field records when he pole vaulted 17-feet, 5-inches at Wednesday’s Last Chance Meet at Desert Vista High School.

The jump added a quarter-inch to the prior mark established by Tolleson’s Nick Hysong 27 years ago.

Ten years after his 17-4.75 prep vault in 1990, Hysong claimed a gold medal for Team USA in the event at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.

For Riddle, he becomes one of only six pole vaulters in Arizona history to jump over 17-feet. His two prior best efforts this season were jumps of 16-7 at the Rattler Booster Invite March 18 and 16-8 at the 14th annual Hohokam Invitational April 13.

As a junior, he jumped 16-6 in a winning effort at the Arizona Meet of Champions after finishing second in the Division I state championship meet one week earlier.

Hysong was the first Arizona pole vaulter to eclipse 17 feet when he did it in 1990. He still owns four of the 11 highest jumps in Arizona prep history.

After Hysong’s 17-4.75 jump in 1990, it would be 22 years before another Arizona high school boy cleared 17 feet, when Basha’s Garrett Starkey did it in 2012. One year later, Desert Vista’s Scott Marshal and Horizon’s Grant Sisserson joined the 17-foot club. Hamilton’s Connor Stevens did it last year in winning the Division 1 state championship.

Riddle is the newest member of the club and the new state record holder. His 17-5 jump is the No. 2 outdoor high school vault in the nation this season. Armand “Mondo” Duplantis, a junior from Lafayette, Louisiana, has the highest jump, a national record leap of 19-feet, 4.5 inches. Duplantis owns the 11 highest jumps in American high school history.

Riddle was one of two Arizona prep pole vaulters to turn heads in the past week.

Alexandria Goodson of Scottsdale Prep became only the sixth girl in Arizona history to jump over 13 feet with her 13-1 vault at the Fountain Hills Friday Night Fever meet April 21. Her jump is just a little more than 3-inches shy of the 13-4.25 state record established by Highland’s Nicole Baker in 2014.

Riddle’s state mark in the pole vault is the fifth state record established in Arizona in 2017.

Mountain Pointe’s Kayleigh Conlon entered the record books in the girls shot put with a throw of 47-feet, 9.5 inches two weeks ago.

Canyon del Oro’s Turner Washington twice broke the prior 30-year-old state record in the discus with a season’s best throw of 217-5, which is the best throw in the nation this year.

Rio Rico’s Allie Schadler established a new state standard in the 3200-meter run with a 10:05 clocking.

The Chandler girls 4X400 relay team has lowered the state record three times with a season’s best of 3:45.14. Chandler 4X400 relay teams dating back to 2003 own 10 of the 15 fastest times in state history.

Arizona all-time bests, boys pole vault

1) Cole Riddle, Valley Vista, 2017, 17-5

2) Nick Hysong, Tolleson, 1990, 17-4.75 

3) Scott Marshall, Desert Vista, 2013, 17-1

4) Nick Hysong, Tolleson, 1990, 17-0 (indoor)

5) Grant Sisserson, Horizon, 2013, 17-0

6) Scott Marshall, Desert Vista, 2013, 17-0

7) Garrett Starkey, Basha, 2012, 17-0

8) Scott Marshall, Desert Vista, 2013, 17-0

9) Connor Stevens, Hamilton, 2016, 17-0

10) Nick Hysong, Tolleson, 1990, 16-11.75 

11) Nick Hysong, Tolleson, 1990, 16-9 (indoor)

12) Scott Marshall, Desert Vista, 2013, 16-9

13) Cole Walsh, Brophy, 2013, 16-9

14) Brandon Glenn, Westview, 2003, 16-8.75 

15) Trent Powell, Highland, 1997, 16-8.75 

16) Grant Sisserson, Horizon, 2013, 16-8

17) Cole Riddle, Valley Vista, 2017, 16-8

18) Cole Walsh, Brophy, 2013, 16-7.25

19) Nick Hysong, Tolleson, 1990, 16-7 

20) Cole Riddle, Valley Vista, 2017, 16-7

Arizona all-time bests, girls pole vault

1) Nicole Baker, Highland, 2014, 13-4.25

2) Shaylah Simpson, Desert Vista, 2010, 13-4

3) Shaylah Simpson, Desert Vista, 2010, 13-2.25 (indoor)

4) April Kubishta, Lake Havasu, 2003, 13-0.25    

5) Vanessa Davis, Desert Vista, 2015, 13-1

6) Alexandria Goodson, Scottsdale Prep, 2017, 13-1

7) Shaylah Simpson, Desert Vista, 2010, 13-0

8) Heather Arseneau, Desert Vista, 2010, 13-0

9) Vanessa Davis, Desert Vista, 2015, 13-0

10) Vanessa Davis, Desert Vista, 2014, 13-0

11) Vanessa Davis, Desert Vista, 2014, 13-0

Arizona’s ‘untouchable’ state records

Twice now this season, Arizona state high school track and field records once considered untouchable are no longer on the books.

This past week, Valley Vista (Surprise) High School’s Cole Riddle added a quarter-inch to the state pole vault record that Nick Hysong of Tolleson had owned for 27 years.

Earlier this season, Canyon del Oro (Tucson) standout thrower Turner Washington twice raised the mark on the state discus record that had stood since 1987. The 212-11 throw by Tempe’s Dwight Johnson was the Arizona state record for 30 years, and considered by many to be among a handful in the state’s untouchable category. Turner has now raised that mark to 217-feet, 5-inches.

All of which proves that no athletic record is untouchable.

In Arizona, though, there are still several marks that have stood the test of time and remain the benchmarks of Arizona high school track and field history.

The most remarkable of those Arizona records is the massive 69-foot, 3-inch shot put mark recorded by North High School’s Dallas Long 59 years ago. That mark is still more than two feet better than the second-best throw ever in Arizona. This season, Desert Edge junior Tyson Jones recorded a best throw of 66-feet, 8-inches. With one season of high school eligibility remaining, Jones is now less than three feet away from Long’s historic record.

Long’s 69-3 effort was the national high school record at the time. He improved the high school national record three times in 1958 with his 69-3 standing as the US prep record until 1967. He was a bronze medalist at 1960 Olympics and the gold medalist at 1964 Olympics. Long tied or broke the world record six times between 1959 and 1964. He was ranked no lower than No. 6 in the world in the event between 1958 and 1964 by Track and Field News.

Another Arizona mark that has stood the test of time is the 20.22-second 200-meter dash time recorded by South Mountain’s Dwayne Evans in 1976. Evans ran most of his high school races on dirt tracks in the non-metric and non-electronic era of Arizona high school track and field, explaining why you don’t see his name on the list of the all-time state bests for 100 meters, even though he ran 100 yards in 9.4 seconds at least twice in 1975 and 1976.

When Evans broke the national high school record in the 220-yard dash (20.5 seconds) in 1976, he received an invitation to compete in the U.S. Olympic Trials that year, and it was those metrically measured and electronically timed performances that put his name in the official Arizona high school record book. At the 1976 U.S. Olympic Trials, including preliminary rounds, Evans raced his way to the three fastest times in state history for 200 meters. His best time of 20.22 seconds is nearly a half-second faster than the next best performer in state history. Evans finished second in those Olympic Trials and the teen sprint sensation would go on to claim a bronze medal in the event in the 1976 Olympic Games in Montreal. Forty-one years later, he not only still holds the Arizona record in the event, but is the fifth-fastest high school performer over 200 meters in American history. He was ranked by Track and Field News among the top 10 in the US and the World at 200 meters between 1976 and 1987. Evans also ran a 20.4 hand-timed 200 in 1976.

Equally impressive as a record that has stood the test of time is the 10.33-second clocking in the 100 meters recorded by Dysart’s LaNoris Marshall in 1978 and tied by Hamilton’s Ryan Milus in 2009.

Girls State Records

On the girls’ side, the longest-standing state record in Arizona is the 20-foot, 4.5-inch long jump recorded by Cortez High School’s Roxane Keating in 1978. The same year, Apollo’s Sandy Crabtree jumped 20-1.75, the second best mark in Arizona history.

But the most heralded Arizona state record on the girls side is the massive discus throw of 176-feet, 4-inches, recorded by Chandler’s Cindy Johnson in 1982. That mark is nearly 11 feet farther than the next best throw in state history, also recorded by Johnson in 1981. Johnson’s state record is nearly 16-feet better than the best throw by the No. 2 performer in Arizona history, which was 160-feet, 10-inches by Deer Valley’s Janine Sandell in 2003.

Moving from the field to the track, Safford’s Eureka Hall owns the longest-standing girls state record with the 52.99-second 400 meters she ran in 1992, the same year she also ran the one-lap distance in 53.35 seconds, which is the No. 2 time in state history.

Hall was also a state champion in the 100 and 200 meter dashes. The only triple-threat sprinter who compares with Hall was Arcadia’s Mavis Laing, who had a hand-timed clocking of 52.6 seconds for 400 meters in 1970, and 52.9 seconds for the slightly farther 440-yard dash the same year. At 400 meters, Laing was ranked No. 9 in the world and No. 2 in the USA at 400 meters by Track and Field News in 1970, while still in high school. The same year, she was ranked No. 4 in the world and No. 1 in USA at 200 meters by Track and Field News.

Also noteworthy in the list of long-standing Arizona girls high school records is the 6-feet, one-half inch high jump recorded by Gilbert Highland’s Jeana McDowel’s in 1996. McDowell owns five of the 10 highest jumps in Arizona high school history.

-- Dan Engler

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