The state champion in the Class 6A girls pole vault couldn't clear the height of a basketball goal less than a year ago.
Southeast junior Alison Meeth's tale is just as much about where she came from as it is about what she accomplished at the state track and field meet.
She won the state title on Friday at Cessna Stadium, becoming the first girls vaulter in Southeast history to do so with her winning vault of 11 feet.
"It means a lot," Meeth said. "I've never placed first in the pole vault. This means more than I can even describe."
It certainly marked a sudden rise from the meets where she struggled to clear 9 feet, which were just a year ago. Vaulting was a new sport, picked up by Meeth out of curiosity formed by a background in gymnastics.
"All of my gymnastics friends said they pole vaulted because it had a lot of the same things that gymnastics had," Meeth said.
But Meeth recently decided to stop doing gymnastics, which has freed up new time.
"I've had a lot more time to spend vaulting and I love it," Meeth said. "I want to get in as much training as I can."
The training was noticeable. She started consistently vaulting over 10 feet and even had 6A's best mark this season entering the state meet at 10-7.
"She's willing to try more things this year," Southeast vault coach John Rutherford said."... Now she's laying back and actually getting up."
The new approach was apparent in the finals, when Meeth jumped in at 10 feet. Three others cleared 10-6, so the winner was going to be determined by who could set a personal best.
Watching Meeth fly down the runway with form and precision was an icing moment for Rutherford. It represented the culmination of everything Meeth had learned about pole vault in the past year.
And for one vault, Meeth was perfect. She glided over the bar set at 11 feet to capture the championship. Meeth tried three attempts at 11-3, but was unsuccessful.
"I had always really hoped she would do something like this," Rutherford said. "But I wasn't sure it was ever going to happen. But she's worked hard for this and she deserves it."
It was a symbolic sight when Meeth had to take a giant step just to stand on top of the medal stand. She was the last champion crowned on the meet's first day and most of the crowd had filed out by then, but it was Meeth's shining moment.
She had just successfully transformed from an average 9-foot vaulter into a state title-winning one in exactly a year's time.
"I never thought I could ever do something like this," Meeth said. "I thought I could place a little bit higher, but never take first place at the state meet."