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Ando Soars Above New England Field

One of the biggest challenges for track and field athletes is to be at your best when it matters most. That’s precisely what occurred for Weston High School senior Emily Ando, who won the pole vault at the New England Track and Field Championships Saturday at Willowbrook Park in New Britain.

Ando cleared 11 feet, three inches to win the event. Darien’s Robin Bone was second with a leap of 10 feet, nine inches. Earlier in June, Ando won the State Open and Class M state championships.  “I was so excited to win, it’s such an accomplishment,’’ Ando said. “I didn’t set winning New Englands as a goal. Just making it there was good enough for me.”

Ando said she jumped consistently during the season, but nothing spectacular. “I was up to 11 feet, 6 inches, but nothing big was coming,’’ Emily said. “I kind of hit a plateau. It’s a process where it has been building up. The past few meets it all started to click.”

Her best jump came at the State Open, when she cleared 12 feet, ¼ inch to set a meet record. She took up the event as a freshman, when coach Matt Medve encouraged her to try it. “My freshman year I was like any other freshman, I didn’t know what I was doing,’’ Ando said. “Then I started to pick things up. The hardest part was putting all the aspects into one.”

Ando, who also played soccer at Weston, left Wednesday for the New Balance Nationals in Greensboro, N.C. She will continue her career as a pole vaulter at Bucknell University.

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