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Prep Track & Field: Teslin Brannan flies to AK’s all-time mark in pole vault; Jason Lorig medals at West Coast Championships

by | Mar 11, 2024 | Cover Story, Prep Spotlight, Track and Field

Teslin Brannan

Salcha’s Teslin Brannan was born to pole vault.

The high school senior and third-generation pole vaulter elevated her Alaska all-time mark in the event, clearing 11 feet, 0.25 inches at the IceBreaker #4 meet at The Dome.

Brannan, who represents the Alaska Pole Vault Club and competes for Eielson High during the outdoor season, surpassed her previous mark by two inches.

So far, Brannan, who started competing at age seven, has claimed the top three official clearances by an Alaskan woman, improving the prep state best five times.

She first overtook the long-standing mark last spring in 10-4, surpassing Chugiak High’s Tia Barnell (10-0.25), whose unofficial prep state record was set in 1989.

Since then, Brannan has cleared 10-6, 10-8.25, 10-10.25, and now 11-0.25 — the highest known clearance by an Alaska woman.

Coached by her father, David Brannan, Teslin has helped lead the resurgence of the event statewide, improving by more than two feet over the past five years and competing at a handful of national meets.

Coach Brannan, a two-time pole vault state champion in Utah and an All-American pole vaulter while at Brigham Young University, is the founder of the Alaska Pole Vault Club and current head coach at Eielson High. Within the last few years, he has grown his pole vaulting program exponentially.

Eagle River’s Jordyn Bruce of Lululemon has also vaulted into the ranks, clearing 10-6.25 in late January during her indoor heptathlon debut in France. Bruce first picked up the event last summer and has since joined forces with the Alaska Pole Vault Club.

Besides Brannan, Bruce, and Barnell, Alaska pole vaulting has blossomed in recent years with at least 10 active vaulters spanning the prep, collegiate, and professional ranks.

Not to mention UAA’s Mette van der Meer (Netherlands) who put the event on the map for the Seawolf women, as the program record holder (11-8) and GNAC bronze medalist in 2022.

On the boy’s side, eighth-grader Micah Olsen of Fairbanks has also made significant progress, clearing a personal best of 12 feet at the IceBreaker #4 meet.

Olsen, who picked up pole vaulting less than two years ago, first made a splash last summer at the Junior Olympics by placing runner-up (11-3.75) in the 13-14-year-old age group.

Since then, Olsen has placed top-5 among middle school competitors at the Pole Vault Summit in January and bettered his personal best twice, clearing 11-5.75 and now 12-0.

For Olsen and Brannan, the sky is truly the limit, with time telling how high they’ll go.

Jason Lorig

In the short sprints, Ketchikan’s Jason Lorig has kept busy, placing third at the West Coast Championships, after running 6.79 seconds in the 60-meter dash.

Lorig, a junior and reigning state champion in the 100, has ventured coast-to-coast in search of indoor competitions while representing the Bolt Track and Field Club, which is based out of Kirkland, Wash.

Founded by Cameron Bolt in 2023, the club has allowed Lorig to line up against some of the nation’s best prep sprinters as he gears up to defend his state title this spring.

After excelling in the 60 at a pair of meets in Washington, the junior returned to Spokane for the STCU West Coast Championships where he placed third (6.79) behind Washington’s Dominick Corley (6.66) and Oregon’s James Bauman (6.69). The dual-sport athlete broke seven seconds for the fifth time this season, while also snagging a personal best in the 200 (22.80) and competing in the long jump (19-0.75).

Lorig’s time in the 60 is currently tied for No. 19 nationally among prep boys this season.

Most recently, Lorig traveled cross country to compete at Nike Indoor Nationals, where he placed third in the 60 (6.97) in the finals of the emerging elite section after competing in the prelims and semi-finals. The time would have placed Lorig in a tie for 20th overall.

With the outdoor season just beginning, Lorig will see how his indoor experience contributes to his signature event.

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Family of Sponsors

Alaska Airlines | Nicole Johnston | Richard Mize | Advanced Diagnostics, INC | Aktive Soles | Alaska Oil and Gas Association | Aspen Endodontics | Black-Smith, Bethard & Carlson, LLC. | BOSCO's | Coho Financial Group | Continental Auto Group | Don Clary & Judy Besh | Glen Bailey | Invisalign-Ben Ward | JL Properties | Joey Caterinichio & Ja Dorris| Kathleen Navarre | Midas Alaska | Moose's Tooth, Bear Tooth and Broken Tooth Brewing | Perkins Coie - Sarah & A.J. Schirack | R&M Consultants, Inc. | RE/MAX Dynamic Properties Kevin Taylor | Residential Mortgage | Seth Wickersham & Alison Overholt | Taylored Restoration | Korndrop Family Foundation | Arctic Slope Regional Corporation | Replacement Glass | Zareena and Allen Clendaniel | Foley & Pearson | UAA Seawolves | Tony and Carla Slaton Barker | Sportclips Haircuts | Alliance for Support of American Legion Baseball in Alaska | Alice & Gunnar Knapp | Amy and Jason Miller | Burgerfi | Charles Fedullo | Dan Rufner | Darren Lieb | Don Winchester | Donley Family | Dr. Justin Libby, DDS | Firetap | Harlow Robinson | Jason & Shannon Metrokin | Jim & Michelle Hajdukovich | Joe Alston | Kathie Bethard | Krispy Kreme | Kristopher Knauss | Loren Kroon | Mark and Jamie Johnson | Mark Silverman | On the Border | Pete Robinson | Rick Mystrom | Team Heat | Team Moriarty | The Conway Family | Todd Whited | Moria Smith | In memory of Drs. John & Elizabeth Tower | Peter Pounds | Multisport Training of Alaska/Lisa Keller | RSA Engineering

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