Gateway: Sports

Peninsula’s Grande seeing double; eyes spots in 100 meters and pole vault at state meet

Peninsula’s Kara McKinney (1286) takes the baton from teammate Madison Grande during the 3A girls 4 x 200-meter relay preliminary heat race on the opening day of the state track meet at Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma on Thursday, May 24, 2018.
Peninsula’s Kara McKinney (1286) takes the baton from teammate Madison Grande during the 3A girls 4 x 200-meter relay preliminary heat race on the opening day of the state track meet at Mt. Tahoma High School in Tacoma on Thursday, May 24, 2018. toverman@theolympian.com

Peninsula High School senior Madison Grande — a Concordia University soccer commit — has always been fast. During track season, the 100 meters has been her more consistent event.

But this year, her best event so far has actually been pole vault.

Grande has jumped 10 feet in both meets early this season, taking first at the South Kitsap Jamboree and second at the 33rd Curtis Viking Relay Championships in University Place last Saturday. That already tops her mark from last year’s Class 3A state tournament, where she came in at nine feet, good for 14th place.

Grande, who also has a gymnastics background, did some pole vault training with a track coach at the University of Washington as a freshman, and took to it immediately.

“I had that natural ability to do it and loved it,” Grande said.

The early results are in, and this season has been her best yet in the event. For Grande, it comes down to the details.

“I’m working right now on that final push, getting my hips up over the bar,” she said. “When the pole bends back, it’ll have a final spring. That gets you over the final stage. So just working on making sure my hips are back, really leaning back, getting my shoulders and head back so that my feet go straight up.”

While the pole vault could be Grande’s best shot at the state podium, she’s a contender in the 100 meters, as well. So far, Grande has fallen just shy of reaching the state tournament in the event in her high school career, placing 10th in the West Central III/Southwest bidistrict meet last season, clocking in at 12.72 seconds.

Grande’s fastest time so far this season is 13.09, and the season is young.

“I’m working on finishing it,” she said. “I have a good start. I’m really quick out of the blocks. I’m just working on getting in the best possible shape and trying to finish it, so I can hopefully get into that mid-12 (second) range.”

Grande said she’s been running 200-meter sprints in practice to help extend her endurance for the final portion of the 100 meters.

“I just break down in that last, maybe, 15 meters,” Grande said. “I just have to keep pumping my arms and going, and getting that final lean in the end.”

Getting to the state finals in both events is Grande’s biggest goal this spring.

“I think that’d be a really cool opportunity,” Grande said. “Hopefully this year is my chance. I definitely just have to perform at the district meet.”

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