Skip to content Skip to left sidebar Skip to right sidebar Skip to footer

Rogers qualifies for state

Blue Nation members typically see Lady Blue Devil Laura Rogers in the gym during the fall for volleyball, but this week the junior is vaulting her way to the TSSAA Spring Fling.
Rogers continued her breakout year for the Unicoi County High School track and field program by placing third in the TSSAA East Sectional pole vault event on Thursday, May 14, in Knoxville by setting a personal record in clearing seven feet.
To add an extra element of celebration, head coach Megan Davis learned on Saturday, May 16, that Rogers earned an at-large bid to the state event. The junior vaulter is currently a sixth-seed on the preliminary sheet with the competition in Murfreesboro set to begin on Thursday, May 21.
Once Rogers heard the news from her head coach, she responded with a “no way!”
“I was so excited,” she told The Erwin Record after a practice session on Sunday.
It was only Rogers’ third time competing in the pole vault, so expectations were running high coming off her stint in the sub-sectionals held in Greeneville.
“My goal for sectionals was to just get over the bar,” Rogers said. “I worked really hard to use all the techniques that coach (Thad) Higgins taught me.”
Coach Higgins has been an asset for the team’s rebuilding year, Davis said.
“He’s been working with Laura the entire time,” she added. “His experience with the program has really helped Laura prepare for this event. I’m so proud of her. She was on cloud nine after she set a new personal record and learning she made it to the state competition only made it better. She’s a terrific athlete.”
During Sunday’s practice, Davis and Higgins were working with Rogers to put the final touches on her preparation before traveling to the Spring Fling.
“Coach Higgins has taught me a lot,” Rogers said. “He has taught me how to vault the correct way. It is so cool that I’m able to go to state in my first year participating in track. I think it will be a great experience.”
The junior’s bid to the Spring Fling puts a stamp to a successful year for the track and field program, Davis added.
“We’ve had such a great group of athletes this year,” she said. “It was heartbreaking to see some of our kids just miss out on the state competition. But it was great to hear the athletes already talking about preparing for next season.
“This is a team accomplishment and only helps our program to grow over the years to come,” Davis said of Rogers’ state qualification. “We’re going to work with Laura to get her in the best position for the event.”
UCHS turned in solid performances throughout the sectional meet on May 14.
Sophomore Stephanie Wisse earned sixth place in the 200-meter (26.31) and seventh in the 100-meter (12.89). Megan Todd earned a seventh-place finish in the 3200-meter run with a time of 12:56 in her sectional debut.
A host of other ladies showed their merit in their debuts at the sectional. The freshman 4×800-meter relay team, which is made up ofTodd, Alexis Harvey, Katie Crain and Kaitlyn Tilson, and the 4×400-meter relay team, which consists of Crain, Tilson, Daniela Martinez and Jillian Taylor, earned 11th-place honors. Cameron Higgins also represented the Blue Devils with a 114-01 throw in the discus event.
CJ Wells, the lone Blue Devil senior, was able to earn sixth in the 110-meter hurdles to cap off a successful career at UCHS, Davis said.
“He was a tremendous leader for the program,” she added. “He battled his way back from injury to compete in the event.”
With the right pieces in place, the future is bright for the UCHS program, according to the head coach.
“Our goal is to rebuild the program,” Davis said. “We have 21 dedicated athletes who worked to better themselves and that’s how we build it back. We’d love to see the number grow next year, but if we have only 21 athletes that are dedicated to the sport, I’m happy with that.”