Cardenas Wins State in Pole Vault in TAAF Track and Field Meet
By: JOHN CANNON
(MCALLEN) – After placing fifth in the Pole Vault at the Class 5A Regional Track and Field Meet this past spring as a freshman, Edcouch-Elsa’s Bianca Cardenas knew she needed to work extremely hard in order to reach her two main goals.
“At regionals, I hit a 10’6 which placed me fifth overall,” said Cardenas. “I was disappointed because I really wanted to hit an 11-foot jump and didn’t accomplish it.”
“Also, I was upset because I didn’t qualify for state and knew that I was going to have to put a lot of work in over the summer to hit both my goals which was clearing 11-feet and getting to state.”
Cardenas indeed put the work in over the summer as she worked out with the football team and did a ton of strength and conditioning drills as well. Not to mention she worked on her pole vaulting skills and on tweaking a few things in order to accomplish her feats.
On Thursday afternoon, Cardenas hit not one, but both of her goals as she cleared an 11-foot jump and ended up winning state in the senior division of the Pole Vault at the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation Summer Games State Track and Field Meet which was held at McAllen Veterans Memorial Stadium.
In her first jump of the day, Cardenas hit a 10-foot jump which just happened to be the winning mark of the competition.
And even though Cardenas had the state title already in her hands after that mark, she decided to go for more.
“I was actually surprised to win the event with a 10-foot jump,” said Cardenas. “But I told my coach I wanted to try to go for a personal best.”
“So I tried to clear a 10’7 and hit that mark which became my first personal best. After that, I went for my goal jump which was 11-feet and hit that one which was my new personal best. From there, I wanted to attempt an 11’3 jump but wasn’t able to clear that one. A lot of the reason I couldn’t clear it was because on the previous day I injured my heel and have been having issues with my right toe as well. So I wasn’t able to continue from there due to the pain.”
Overall, Cardenas was very happy with her accomplishments and feels that it’s the sign of things to come for the upcoming season.
“I am very happy with accomplishing both of my goals,” said Cardenas. “There was some excellent competition at the state meet and quite a few of them made a pretty far drive down here.”
“But I was focused on the task at hand and went out and did my job. In the end, I won state and now I am set on trying to compete at state in this coming season’s Track and Field Meet.”
Edcouch-Elsa pole vault coach Jaime Ochoa said he was very pleased with Cardenas’s performance and feels she is on track to possibly break the overall school record and quite possibly become the best in school history.
“For Bianca to accomplish what she did as an incoming sophomore says a lot,” said Ochoa. “She became a state champion and that says a lot for such a young athlete. She was in tip-top shape coming into the meet and yesterday was truly her day.”
“Currently, she is on track to hit the school record in the girls’ pole vault which was done by April Benavides who just happened to be a state champion. She jumped 12-feet at the state meet and ended up winning it. As a junior, April hit an 11 and qualified for state. Bianca has already hit an 11 as an incoming sophomore and I can definitely foresee her surpassing April’s school record and winning a few state titles as well. If that happens, she will be the greatest in school history in the event and it would be well deserved.”