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Twins vault to graduation, not state

Senior pole vaulters place first, second at Masters
By: Russ Edmondson The Placer Herald
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Rocklin High senior twins Rob and Cale Simmons will skip the CIF state track and field championships in order to attend graduation Friday. The pole vaulters qualified for the state championships after finishing first (Rob, 16-feet, 4-inches) and second (Cale, 15-10) at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championship at Hughes Stadium in Sacramento on May 28. The top three pole vaulters from Masters qualified for the state meet. Both Rob and Cale have qualified for state before but not together. Rob competed at state as a sophomore while Cale did the same as a junior. The state meet is Friday (trials) and Saturday (finals) in Clovis. Rocklin’s graduation ceremony is also Friday. Rob was ranked second in the state in the pole vault and Cale was ranked third entering Masters. Rob set his personal best at Masters (16-4) while Cale’s top mark this year has been 16-2. The brothers were the only athletes from either Rocklin or Whitney to qualify for state. “It was a difficult decision because we are a big part of the school community and the track community and either decision we made felt like we were letting the other side down,” Rob said. “The track community was kind of counting on us to be there for state to represent the state and the section.” The decision to pick graduation over state was made two weeks prior to Masters. “I really want to go to both,” Cale said. “The first thing that came to mind was ‘is it possible to do both?’ I knew they were both on the same day (track trials at 5 p.m., graduation at 7:30 p.m.) but the times were too close. “A lot of people have told me that they think I made the right decision . . . I feel like I made a good decision and I’ll have a lot more track meets in college and there won’t be any more high school graduations. I mean — a lot of track meets, when you’re there, it’s just another track meet. It’s how it plays off and how you get recognized.” Both brothers are really looking forward to the party after the graduation ceremony. “Originally we thought with the times we were going to be able to do (both) because usually the state meet starts at noon (but since it’s 5 p.m. this year) you can only pick one,” Rob said. “And the Silver Grad Night (event put on by the school) . . . it’s an all night deal. You stay up all night and we would do that. We thought about it and how it would play out if we go to state. We would hope to qualify and if we do, go back home and stay up all night and then at 5 a.m. we would drive from (Rocklin) to Fresno. Then sleep for three hours and pole vault for the finals. If I am already giving up graduation (in that scenario) and I’m not going to place anyway (because of the lack of sleep) then why do it?” Michael Woepse of Mater Dei of Santa Ana is the state leader in the pole vault (16-9) and the only person ranked above Rob and Cale. “I think I probably could have been (state champion) but that depends on how (Woepse) did,” Rob said. “Me or my brother, we could have placed in the top 3. No problem.” Despite this, Rob says he won’t have regrets on Friday. “We kind of came down to it — we have been to so many track meets and we’ve both been to state before,” Rob said. “It will be a little sad that we won’t have the chance to have the ability to win state but at the same time we don’t know if we could also sit there and be thinking about ‘I just missed my own graduation.’ It’s a chance to see all of them (Rocklin seniors) for a last time before they go on and live their life.” Cale just hopes the weather holds up on Friday. “The only regret I think I’ll have is if we get rained out of our graduation and they push it to Saturday — then I might be kind of angry,” said Cale with a laugh. “But I won’t care too much (about state while at graduation Friday). I’ll probably be so into the moment that I won’t think about it at all.” Both Rob and Cale have GPAs of over 4.0 and will pole vault in college at the Air Force Academy. They will participate in a “just for fun” meet at Woodcreek High Thursday. “It’s nice to be done with track (for now), there is so much more stuff to do,” Cale said. “It’s nice to relax and enjoy senior activities.” Among the other local top finishers from Masters were Rocklin’s Sam O’Hair (3200 meters, fifth, 9:21.62), Zachary Zadrozna (3200, 11th, 9:41), Emily Shields (pole vault, tied for ninth, 9-09) and Morgan Smith (high jump, tied for 10th, 4-11) and Whitney’s Matt Post (shot put, 15th, 48-01) and Kristina Fahey (high jump, 15th, 4-09).