TOMS RIVER — They share a conference (North Jersey Interscholastic Conference), a vaulting club (Apex Vaulting) and have seemingly matched each other’s personal bests all season, going from 13 feet to 13-6. Then, on Sunday, each cleared 14 feet at the state Group 1 indoor track championship at Bennett Center. They shared sixth place in Group 1 last winter. They even shared the good fortune of making 14 feet Sunday on vaults that rattled the crossbar and nearly fell.
But there can be only one state group champion and Travis Fisher of North Arlington bested Andrew Accardi of Pompton Lakes on misses to earn the only North Jersey boys championship at the final day of the three-day state indoor track marathon.
Both athletes came in at 12 feet, after most of the vaulters in the competition already had completed their vaults and clearly on their first attempts. Then both passed at 12-6, but Accardi missed his first attempt at 13 feet and Fisher cleared. Accardi missed once at 13-6 as Fisher stayed clean. New Providence senior Sebastien Camacho was also over 13-6 but had more total misses than either North Jersey vaulter.
Fisher was first up at 14 feet and hit the crossbar hard as he cleared the height. “I was lying in the pit looking up and I saw it barely hanging on to the peg. I couldn’t believe it stayed up.”
Camacho missed three times at 14 feet and it was up to Accardi to keep the contest alive on his final attempt. He, too hit the bar hard, but like his friend/rival, the bar stayed up and both had reached the coveted 14 foot clearance.
At 14-6, it was almost an anticlimax, although Accardi’s second jump was fairly close, and when the Pompton Lakes senior ran through his final attempt, the two embraced and celebrated together.