The Internet Home of Track & Field

June 15, 2003 Sacramento - Golden West Invitational

Tommy Skipper sets a national record
in honor of his late brother Art

Tommy Skipper sets national pole vault record in honor of his brother Art, national javelin record holder who died in an airplane crash a few months before. The entire Skipper family was on hand.

After setting the record, Skipper ran to the sidelines to embrace his family (below), and then they all posed with his pole and the record numbers. From left, mom Chris, dad Art, Tommy, and sister Maria.

Broken pole cost Skipper the indoor record, but he nails the outdoor record with ease

by John Dye

SACRAMENTO 6/15/03 -- Sandy OR senior Tommy Skipper, who broke a pole and his left hand going for the indoor national record at the Nike Indoor Championship in March, opened at 17-1 when two other competitors remained. Skipper cleared on his second try while Donovan Kilmartin and Brandon McFarling missed three times.

Skipper raised the bar to 18-0.5 for a new Golden West record and made it. He then raised the bar to 18-3 and made it for a new national high school record (was 18-2.25 by Eric Eshbach in 1999). Skipper then missed once at 18-6 and called it a day. He said his bigger poles didn't arrive in Sacramento, so it wasn't likely he would make the higher height. They will be with him when he competes next week in the USA Junior Nationals at Stanford. It was the third straight meet Skipper moved the bar up a foot after his opening clearance. "You either make it or you don't, so you might as well go for it," Skipper said.

Tommy now joins his older brother Art Skipper Jr as national record holders. Art Jr, who died last year when the small airplane he was flying crashed, still holds the national high school javelin record at 259-10. "I've been waiting to get this record for my brother," Skipper said. He was very pleased he got the record on Father's Day with his dad, mom, and sister in attendance.

Girls Record Set
the Same Day

Amazingly, both high school pole vault records fell on the same day in the same pit. Before Skipper's heroics, Kira Costa of California leaped 13-8.5 for a new high school girls national record. The winning numbers were identical. Just transpose the 8 and the 3.

In one year, San Joaquin Memorial Fresno CA senior Kira Costa soared from third in the California state meet and 11th in DyeStat Elite national rankings to national records both indoors and out. Here, she first broke the meet record with a 13-6.5 clearance and then added two inches for a national record, improving on Shayla Ballentine's 13-8 mark at the 2001 California state meet. Costa then quit after one try at 14 feet because she was "too excited to concentrate."


2003 Golden West home page - http://www.dyestat.com/3us/3out/goldenwest/index.htm

Tommy Skipper page - http://www.dyestat.com/3us/3out/goldenwest/54.htm

NEXT:  Alejandro Barrientos leads San Lorenzo Valley CA girls to national record in distance medley at Penn Relays. 

Magic Moments index page