The girls pole vault came down to two competitors at Saturday's Division 2 state finals at Houseman Field in Grand Rapids — and they were sisters.
After going head to head at multiple meets throughout the year, Spring Lake siblings Allie and Bella LeRoux were once again the last vaulters standing. Allie had needed multiple tries on several heights before the bar reached 11 feet 8 inches, but the senior nailed it on her first try Saturday, forcing her sister to attempt to match. Freshman Bella had been steadier throughout the day, but was unable to make the new height in three tries, puting her in second at 11 feet, 5 inches, and making her sister state champion.
"It was exciting," Allie said, of the competition coming down to her and Bella. "She's probably one of the people that can push me the most. She's my younger sister, so I don't want her to beat me. She pushed me a lot. I think that's one of the reasons I was able to p.r. today. I liked it, It was good."
“It was actually really nerve-wracking,” added Bella. “It’s warmer than it’s usually been. I was just kind of like, ‘Allie, me and you, me and you.’
“It was fun. I don’t even know how to describe it. It was just sister against sister — it was nerve-wracking. I want to beat her, but then she’s my sister and I love her. But I’m happy that she won.”
The spectacle wasn’t just nerve-wracking for the competitors, but for the fans too — especially the sisters’ parents, Howard and Diana LeRoux.
“It’s a great feeling, but then you’re always a little bit nervous for each one because you want each to their best,” Howard said. “You’ve got a senior, so it’s important for her to do her best. It’s her last chance to win a state championship. But then you want the freshmen to also have the best year.
“All the other girls are out, but I was really nervous. … I want them both to do their best. It’s hard to sort that out.”
Read more of this story in Monday's print edition or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.