Lilly Nichols stood besides a pole that was nearly three-times taller than her.
The Broomfield freshman wore a bright red band on her left wrist, and her long black tights were lined with chalk. She intensely eyed her competition - the bar standing 10-feet high down the runway - and lifted the long pole up. Her arms flexed from the effort, while her five-foot-ish frame radiated power.
The pole didn't seem so tall anymore.
Nichols popped off her toes and aggressively tore down the track. Her long pole punched at the air as she sprinted. She was in attack mode, and there would be no slowing down. No stopping. No bailing out now.
Within a swift move the pole came down and Nichols launched upwards, defying gravity. She soared well above the 10-foot bar, and by the time she came crashing down, back to earth, a smile painted across her face.
A flip had switched. It was as if she had left all the intensity of the flying over a 10-foot bar somewhere up in the air, drifting off with the clouds.
It would only return once she was back on the runway.
Nichols quickly slid off the mat and over to her coach, where they briefly went over the details of what could be fixed, or done differently.
Between jumps the sheer excitement of the first meet of the season, let alone the first meet of her high school career, bubbled to the surface.
Off the track Nichols was quick to congratulate her competitors and teammates on their performances. On the track she flared with fiery passion.
As the sun shined through ominous clouds to the west an entourage began to build around the pole vault as the bar was raised to 12-feet. Everyone wanted to watch the Flying Freshman make history by taking down the Broomfield pole vault school record of 11-9 in her first high school meet.
And she did just that.
Nichols went on to clear 12-0, then 12-6, before moving the bar to 13-2. After three near-misses she called it day with a smile still painted across her face.
Track is back!
While Nichols was busy soaring into Broomfield's record books in her first high school competition, there was plenty of action on the track.
There was a buzz in the air over the Centaurus track at the Lafayette Season Opener Tuesday evening. Everyone was feeling that rush of adrenaline that accompanies competition. And everyone was excited to be back.