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Ex-Colfax pole vault standout clears 17-6

Burlingham goes after NCAA Div. II crown Saturday
By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Services
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The pole vault odyssey of Kasey Burlingham continues this weekend when the former Colfax High track athlete competes in the NCAA Div. II Track and Field Championships at San Angelo, Texas. Burlingham, a 2004 Colfax High graduate and former state JC champion while at Cuesta College, now competes for Cal State Stanislaus of Turlock. A junior, Burlingham will take the nation’s second leading Div. II pole vault into Saturday’s men’s pole vault competition. Burlingham, who won the California Collegiate Athletic Association title two weeks ago and had already qualified for the NCAA event, cleared 17 feet, 6 and one-half inches at a last-chance qualifying meet held at Sacramento State last weekend. Burlingham’s mark trails only the 18-½ effort of Grand Valley State's Bryant Wilson. For Burlingham, who holds the Colfax High school pole vault record at 15-6 and finished 8th in the 2004 CIF State Meet, the event has taken him all over the country. First, it was a two-year stop at Cuesta College near San Luis Obispo where Burlingham went 17-1 to win the state JC championship in 2006. After a scholarship to Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma didn’t pan out, the ex-Falcon landed in Turlock. Now, Burlingham is just happy to be vaulting well after more than a year of struggling with injuries. Last summer, he broke his left wrist in a mountain bike crash then strained his left hamstring. He has taken it easy on the bike since then and is enjoying a stellar junior season. "I think pole vaulting every day may be a little more dangerous," Burlingham said in an interview with the Modesto Bee. "I'd pretty much say my life revolves around pole vaulting. It's in everything I do." Burlingham’s wife, Annie, was also a top vaulter for the Warriors’ women’s squad but her season was cut short when she cut her hand on a broken pole a few weeks ago to end her season. "It definitely feels good to finally jump that high," Burlingham said about his recent big effort. "I feel pretty good. I had a solid practice (Monday). It's first time at championships so we’ll see what happens.”