PASADENA — Having already put together quite a historic season, South Pasadena High sophomore Claire Kieffer-Wright took aim at a lofty goal Saturday morning.
The CIF State girls’ high jump champion attempted to qualify to the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Eugene, but ultimately fell short at the USATF Southern California Assn. Masters Championships held at Caltech University.
Kieffer-Wright was hoping to hit a provisional “B” mark of 1.83 meters (six feet), which would advance her to the trials, beginning June 21.
The youngster entered with a personal-best mark of 5 feet, 10 inches (1.77 meters), which she matched June 2 at Clovis’ Buchanan High to win the state championship.
Yet, Kieffer-Wright struggled in missing at three attempts of 5-7 (1.70 meters) at Caltech.
“In the beginning, my jumps felt really good. I really don’t know what happened,” Kieffer-Wright said. “In my last three attempts, I just had timing issues.”
Kieffer-Wright, who sat out the women’s competition because of the lower standards, was one of only two athletes to advance in the men’s event at a mark of 5-3, along with 54-year-old Lake Forest resident Peter Hlavin.
Kieffer-Wright had no qualms with her first attempts at 5-3 and 5-5.
Yet, while Hlavin clinched his first attempt at 5-7, Kieffer-Wright hit the horizontal bar with her thigh on her first try.
With only a two-minute rest between attempts, Kieffer-Wright again hit the bar on her landings in her final two attempts.
“My timing on my kick going over was just off for some reason,” Kieffer-Wright said. “I wish I had another chance, because I could do it.”
Tigers jumps Coach Eugene Hutchinson had a different take afterward.
“She had a very impressive year and there’s really nothing to be sad about,” Hutchinson said. “If anything, getting this close to the Olympic Trials will only make her hungrier.”
In other action, Pasadena resident Jacques Sallberg, a former Muir coach, scratched in the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, while attempting to qualify to the trials for the third time in his personal career.
Sallberg landed awkwardly while clearing a water obstacle and did not finish the race. While he didn’t want to comment, Sallberg said “he was very upset” with the results.
South Pasadena native Grace Padilla, 40, also finished shy of her attempt to break the listed American Masters 40-44-year-old Outdoor record in the 2,000-meter steeplechase of 6 minutes, 49.58 seconds.
Padilla finished with a time of 6:53.91.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun