Bailey McCorkle still roams the halls at Greenwood Junior High School. When final period rolls around, she puts her books in her locker and heads outside with the high schoolers for track practice.
And she whips them.
The Greenwood freshman is one of the top pole vaulters in the state. And for her age, she’s one of the tops in the United States. Her most recent vault of 12-feet, 1-inch, was good enough to capture first place at the Greenwood Bulldog Relays on Monday by more than seven inches over her nearest competitor. The height would have been good enough to win a 6A State Championship last year, too, and finish third in the Meet of Champions.
“Her private track coach said 12-1 is the highest for any freshman in the country,” Greenwood track coach Brian Simms said. “You can tell she’s good. You go and watch most pole vaulters and they’re not bending the pole, maybe making it over the bar. She’s bending it and just shoots up in the air.”
She won first in the pole vault at the Tiger Relays in Mansfield and the Bearcat Relays in Booneville, as well. Next up come the Airedale Relays in Alma.
“She practices about half the time with us and about half the time with her private pole vaulting coach, like all the great ones do,” Simms said. “But our kids really like her. She’s fit in really well.”
She may be the star of the Lady Bulldogs track team, but Laurel Yeager, Callie Harmon and Kayla Reed help round out one of the better girls teams in 6A. Harmon is the defending 6A champion in the 300-meter hurdles, Reed finished sixth in the meet in the 3200-meter run and Erika Platt, who also returns, qualified for State in the two-mile.