As Anna Dunn lined up for her attempts at the pole vault in the Class AAAAA state championships, she was thinking about dessert.
“I was so stressed out, I just thought of Oreos,” the Creekview athlete said. “I started thinking about Oreos and it calmed me down. That entire meet, I just thought about them.”
Dunn said her coach had promised her a package following her competition, and she has her thoughts on the prize when she vaulted to a second-place finish.
“That just made my mind stop,” she said.
Dunn will be the first to admit that 2012 was her banner year as a member of the Creekview track and field team.
Then a junior, she set personal bests in the 100-meter hurdles, 300 hurdles and pole vault. Dunn won the region and county titles in the pole vault and both hurdles and later finished as the runner-up in the pole vault at the Class AAAA state meet.
By comparison, Dunn said she was afraid that the 2012 season made her ’13 campaign a little ordinary.
“I didn’t have anywhere near a breakout season, but at least I stayed consistent,” said Dunn, the 2013 Cherokee Tribune Girls Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
Nonetheless, an ordinary season for Dunn can be considered stellar for most athletes.
Dunn competed in five events, including both relays, both hurdles and the pole vault.
She successfully defended her pole vault and 300 hurdles titles at the county meet, where she also finished runner-up to Woodstock’s Maya Ramsey in the 100 hurdles. In the Region 7AAAAA meet, Dunn cleared the 11-foot mark in the pole vault to defend that title as well. With a personal record of 14.95 seconds, she was second in the 100 hurdles and she settled for fourth in the 300 hurdles.
All of the finishes were good enough to qualify Dunn for sectionals, and she qualified for state in two events — the 100 hurdles and pole vault. At the Class AAAAA state meet, she finished second in the pole vault and took sixth in the 100 hurdles.
“I won almost every meet I went to (in pole vault), except for state, and I got second at state based on misses, just like last year,” Dunn said. “I was expecting to win (state) and do better than last year and all. I was expecting a PR, but that comes with a lot of time.”
Dunn’s mark of 11-6 was exactly what she cleared a year earlier to finish runner-up. In both cases, she cleared the same height as the state champion, but took more attempts to do so.
“I missed once at 11-6, and (Allatoona’s Elise Moffatt) didn’t miss at all,” Dunn said. “I wish we could have done a jump-off at a different height, or gotten more attempts, but it doesn’t work like that.”
Looking toward college, Dunn will specialize in the pole vault, the event that she excels in the most. She attended a summer camp at Georgia and has been invited to go out for the Bulldogs’ team as a walk-on.
During the summer, Dunn will be participating in any small meet she can find and training with a pair of pole vault coaches, Robbie Robertson and Olga Kirillova. She will also compete in the Georgia Games.
“Hopefully, by the time the indoor season rolls around, I’m jumping 12-6 or 13,” Dunn said.
While she hasn’t increased the height of the vaults yet, Dunn knows it is only a matter of time. She has made improvements to her form.
“The first time I ever ran down there, it was scary to plant, but after you do it a few times, it doesn’t even faze you,” Dunn said. “You just have to keep finding ways to improve.”