Photo used with permission granted
Weeks ago, Junior Erica Ellis (Unattached) announced she would no longer be competing for her local High School team, Gates-Chili, but instead competing unattached with her club coach, Rick & Jenn Suhr. Channeling a decision very similar to Mary Cain (Unattached), Ellis was set to compete in club meets for much of the year. She debuted at the Upstate NY Holiday Classic on December 30th, jumping 12-1, and putting herself in the Top 5 in New York State. But it was far off the 13-foot clearances of a year ago.
One week later, and that all changed. Using brand new Altius Poles, two of which had never been planted before, Ellis raised the bar, and returned to form. The Freshman and Sophomore State Record Holder hit an unprecedented 14-1.5 to set the Junior State Record. Not only that, but she broke the standing National Junior Class Record set by Katie Veith of Indiana in 2006, at 14-0.
The mark also puts her only one half inch off the State Record, set by another Suhr prodigy, Mary Saxer (Lancaster). Saxer jumped 14-2, to become the first prep female to ever do so, back in 2005. Ellis is also now US #6 All-Time in the event indoors, with plenty of time left in the season to improve.