Sam Smith, Jake Platel leap to the challenge

"We all knew Sam was going to be a beast because he jumped 6 (feet), 4 (inches) sophomore year," said Platel.

"To see him (Platel) flying 15-1, 15,-4 now, it's unreal. I think it's great," states Smith.

That level of effort has brought Platel and Smith to the forefront of state track and field. Both of them have placed in the top 10 of their respective events at state meets the past two years, with Platel grabbing the pole vault title in March.

What makes Platel's first place finish even more impressive is the immense difficulty of his sport.

"There are like a million different motions in the pole vault that you have to learn. If you screw one of them up, the whole jump will fail," said Platel. "If you don't run down the runway correctly, you're not going to jump high; if you don't plant the pole correctly, you're not going to jump high; if you don't do any one of the small little aspects correctly, everything else is going to fail."

It took Platel some time to learn and perfect all of these parts of his vault.

"Everything you do in steps," he explains. "You don't just go out there and do everything 100 percent every single time. You have got to work on the individual little motions within the jump itself, or else it's not going to work out."

Although Platel's sport is one of the most difficult in the realm of track and field, Smith is certainly not lacking in the difficulty department. Besides being one of the best high jumpers in the state, Smith also does the pentathlon, which is made up of five events: 110-meter high hurdles, long jump, shot put, high jump and a 1,500-meter run.

"That's my bag of tricks, I think," said Smith "I think it's my favorite too, because it's the most fulfilling."

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