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Wagner takes fourth at nationals

Wagner takes fourth at nationals

Cal State Stanislaus senior pole vaulter Alycia Wagner took fourth place and finished with All-American status at Friday’s NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships.

POSTED May 27, 2011 10:47 p.m.

As soon as she threw her pole into the pole-vaulting pit, Cal State Stanislaus senior Alycia Wagner turned to a crowd of mostly familiar faces and waved. This was her farewell.
Her college career was over.
Wagner, however, did it in All-American fashion, as she tied for fourth with Grand Valley State's Jocelyn Kuksa in the women's pole vault with a height of 12 feet, 4 1/2 inches at the NCAA Division II Track and Field Championships at Al Brenda Track at Warrior Stadium on the Stanislaus campus. Lauren Stelten of Minnesota State Mankato won it with a height of 13 feet, 1/4 inches.
Wagner passed on the opening height before clearing two heights and attempting to overcome 12-8. Her first attempt resulted in her body brushing against the pole, which eventually rolled off.
"I thought I had it," Wagner said. "I should've had it."
Her second attempt was no good, as she pulled away at the last moment. On her last try, she ran down the runway before throwing the pole into the pit to signal the end of a stellar college career. And soon after, she turned to the crowd and waved.
"I've never envisioned her being at a national championship meet," coach Tom Brenda said about the progress Wagner made since joining the Warriors in 2009. "I didn't see that coming."
Wagner will now look into coaching and making a possible Olympic run, as she will return to Stanislaus next year as an "unattached" pole vaulter on top of helping coach the school's cross country team.
She is one of two Stanislaus athletes who qualified for the national meet, with teammate and Delhi High graduate Rashee Dean scheduled to compete in today's triple jump at 6 p.m.
In her event, Wagner came in as the fourth seed. She easily cleared her first height of 12-2 by a few inches, as she had a definitive home-field advantage with family, friends and teammates in the crowd. And Wagner knew she had the edge, which gave her an unusual feeling.
"The entire season I have not been nervous once," she said. "The second I stepped out there, and had all those people out there, I got a little bit of butterflies in my stomach, but it didn't change anything in my head."
But there were other factors she couldn't control, like the crosswinds that blew during the entire afternoon. Brenda said the conditions affected the rhythm in her run, as he expressed disappointment soon after the competition.
"That's because Alycia is so good and coming in with a great shot at winning it," he explained. "But overall, she did great and we are really proud of her second All-American result this year."
Wagner agreed.
"It's a good way to end my college career," she said.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.

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