Above: Eliza McCartney clearing 4.90m to win the SKYCITY Vertical Pursuit women's pole vault. Photo by Alisha Lovrich.
Eliza McCartney has soared to impressive heights once again, this time on a temporary runway down Federal Street in central Auckland, vaulting higher than she has before at the SKYCITY Vertical Pursuit on Sunday.
The Devonport 21 year old, just two weeks after finishing fourth at the World Indoor Championships in Birmingham with a clearance of 4.75m, went much higher in front of a big, enthusiastic crowd at the popular street event, getting over 4.90m.
The height is better than her New Zealand and Oceania record of 4.82m, but is unlikely to be ratified as a new record because of the gently sloping temporary runway.
Rio 2016 bronze medallist McCartney knew this would be the case, but was still excited to be vaulting at these heights, giving her confidence a huge boost ahead of a big year.
Finishing second in the competition was American Morgann LeLeux with 4.35m while Kiwi Imogen Ayris produced her highest ever vault, clearing 4.20m.
Ayris, just 17 years old, last weekend won the senior women’s NZ title in Hamilton in the absence of McCartney and an injured Olivia McTaggart, boding well for her participation at the World Under 20 Championships in Finland later this year.
The men’s competition went to Nick Southgate, six times NZ champion, clearing 5.10m, and going close at three attempts on 5.25m.
The vaulters enjoyed competing in such a loud, vibrant atmosphere which went some way to cancelling out the tricky swirling winds at the base of the Sky Tower.
The SKYCITY Vertical Pursuit was the third meeting in the 2018 Athletics NZ International Series.
Action now moves to an athletics track for the final meeting of the series, the Sir Graeme Douglas International Track Challenge at Douglas Track & Field on Sunday 25 March where the pole vaulters and international shot putters, led by World Champion Tom Walsh will all be in action, along with top NZ track athletes.
1 Eliza McCartney 4.90m
2 Morgann LeLeux 4.35m
3 Imogen Ayris 4.20m
1 Nick Southgate 5.10m
2 James Steyn 4.60m