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story.lead_photo.caption Dominic Crisostomo of Helias clears the bar while competing in the boys pole vault Friday in the Class 4 state track and field championships at Adkins Stadium. Crisostomo won the state title by clearing 15 feet, .75 inches. Photo by Liv Paggiarino / News Tribune.

Dominic Crisostomo didn't miss until it didn't matter.

The Helias senior cleared every height on his first attempt Friday until he had already clinched the boys pole vault state title in the Class 4 track and field championships at Adkins Stadium.

"I wouldn't say I met my expectations, I always have the problem of setting them way too high for myself," Crisostomo said. "I'm happy, I'm satisfied, but I know I have a lot more in me."

On a chilly and blustery day, Crisostomo passed on the opening three heights before clearing 13-feet, 5.25 inches. He passed on the next height before resuming the competition at 13-11. He was one and done there, again at 14-1.25, 14-7.5 and 14-10.

He was only one of three vaulters left at that point, the remainder of the 16-person field eliminated way back at 13-11.

Webb City sophomore Grayson Smith and Hannibal junior Kaiser Greenwell joined Crisostomo in the final three.

"There was some great competition," Crisostomo said. "I was expecting that, maybe not as much as there was, but it was fun."

Smith joined Crisostomo in clearing on his first attempts from 13-11 to 14-10. Greenwell battled his way into the top three, missing on his first two attempts at three of the heights before clearing it on his final attempt to move on.

After all three got past 14-10, the bar was moved to 15-.75. Crisostomo cleared it on his first attempt. Smith missed on his first two tries before passing on his third, while Greenwell missed on all three to finish third.

The bar was then moved to 15-3.5. Smith missed on his first attempt and Crisostomo was the state champion. Crisostomo missed on his three attempts at 15-3.5. But his winning height broke his school record of 15-0 he set at sectionals last Saturday.

"He went out there and took care of business and he won a state title," Helias coach Phil Pitts said.

The state title caps a season of steady improvement for Crisostiomo.

"The beginning of the season is always about what works and what I need to improve on," he said. "At the end of the season, it was continuing to do what I was good at, what I knew would work for me, and capitalize off of that."

Crisostomo said he was inspired to start pole vaulting by watching his aunt participate in the event before his freshman year in high school.

"I was watching the Junior Olympics and I saw pole vaulting and thought, 'What is that? I want to do it,'" he said. "I've always been an adrenaline junkie."

Planting a pole into the box and using it to clear a bar certainly will get your adrenaline flowing.

"I've always said pole vaulting is more mental than it is physical," Crisostomo said. "You have to believe that you can clear that bar, no matter what the height, or you are always going to fall short."

Crisostomo will be attending TCU starting in the fall, pre-med and studying bio-mechanics. He said he plans to walk on to the Horned Frogs track and field team.

"The best thing about Dom is he is so easy to root for," Pitts said. "He's such a good kid, he works so hard, he does so many things right."

III

Crisostomo's win gave the Crusaders 10 points to finish tied for 23rd with Carl Junction in the final team standings.

Ethan Wilson was Helias' other state qualifier. The sophomore finished ninth in the 800-meter run, one spot from a state medal in a time of 2:01.86.

"For only running in the 800 the last month of the season, I'm so proud of what he did," Pitts said. "He ran a great race, he almost had it. I think he's motivated for next year."

Webb City took Class 4 boys team honors with 64 points. Kearney was second with 57, while Trinity Catholic was third with 49. Festus and Willard tied for fourth with 47.

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