Reaching new heights

Natalie Lopez

As a CIF participant, Andrew Gonzales sets his work into action jumping 14 feet at the Irvine Invitational. “Even though I didn’t win, the thought that I made it there was what mattered,” Gonzales said.

Julia Ruiz, Sports Editor

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Winning CIF never seemed possible for senior pole vaulter Andrew Gonzalez, but it became a reality when he placed first in the CIF Division I Final on May 19.

“I never expected to win,” Gonzalez said. “I knew I would be a contestant but winning never seemed to be in reach. There is so much competition and the Southern Section has a lot of great athletes.”

This year marked the young pole vaulter’s first participation in the CIF finals. During the 2010-2011 season, he made it to the Southern Section Prelims but was unable to go any further. This time, however, Gonzalez qualified for finals after vaulting 14-03 during prelims. His result was well enough to place first in prelims and earn him a spot in the finals.

With four years of experience behind him, Gonzalez debuted in the CIF Division I Final with an average mark of 14-10.  His final result consisted of an inch less, but it won him the CIF title.

“I was not surprised he won,” fellow pole vaulter Sol Ochoa said. “He is a really good pole vaulter that he almost broke the freshman record his first year. He is consistent and this year he was striving to improve.”

The pole vaulter’s CIF title was his ticket to the Southern Section Masters, which he competed in on May 25 at Cerritos College. Top five athletes in each category move on to State Finals; however, Gonzalez’s performance was not enough for him to qualify for the next round, earning a mark of 14-03.

“The Masters meet did not turn out how we hoped,” Coach Gleason said. “He was dealing with very windy conditions which make it very difficult for a pole vaulter.  He was aiming for the school record and a shot at the State Meet, but even though he was not able to achieve either, it was within his reach.  I believe this will only make him more motivated to continue his success at the collegiate level.”

Although state was not an option for the CIF champion, Gonzalez wrapped up a strong year winning his first CIF Final and placing fifteenth in the southern section state rankings. His accomplishments throughout his high school career have caught the eye of various universities. Recently, he signed for California State University Northridge where he will continue his athletic endeavors.