MADISON _ As a gymnast, Mendham's Julia Mszanski was accustomed to repetition.
When Mszanski did something incorrectly, she went back and did it again. And again. And again.
Mszanski's willingness to fine tune over and over has transferred exceptionally well to another endeavor - pole vaulting.
A 14-year-old freshman, Mszanski already is making a name for herself on the indoor track circuit.
On Wednesday, Jan. 16, Mszanski won the pole vault at the 22nd Annual Valentine Invitational at Drew University by clearing 9 feet, 6 inches. Two days earlier, she was first in the event at the Freshmen-Sophomore Championships.
"Along with having strength, I'm able to take direction well," Mszanski said. "I probably take 30 turns every practice and always have to change something. I take the correction and I put it to work right away."
Being able to alter things quickly and with a smile has made Mszanski, who competed in floor, vault, beams and bars as a gymnast, into a standout performer. Most notable? She took up pole vaulting a little less than a year ago.
"I watched my brother, Adam, pole vault in between seventh and eighth grade and I liked it," Mszanski said. "I figured I'd try it."
In no time, the agile and flexible Mszanski was clearing higher and higher heights. The first time she competed was in October 2012 with her club team, Apex.
After 10 years, she left gymnastics behind in order to give her all to pole vaulting. The changes, of course, are frequent. In recent weeks, Mszanski has been working on how she plants the pole, runs and other minute details.
It's all translated into success. If Mszanski has her way, a Morris County Championship could be next. Her goal is to clear 10 feet.
The height she cleared at the Valentine Invitational matched her previous best.
"I've had the same height quite a few times," she said. "At least I'm not getting worse."
Morris Knolls senior Andrea Bush raced past the field in the final of the 400-meter dash, posting a 1:00.20.
Bush, however, thinking of the upcoming Morris County Championships, wanted to be under 60 seconds.
"I'm happy that I won but a little upset I didn't get the time I wanted," Bush said. "I've got to go out faster."
To get ready for next week's meet, Bush plans to work on hills, strength and speed. She plans to spend a lot of time on the hills on the grounds of Morris Knolls.
Bush, also a top-notch volleyball player, says she is constantly "out to better myself."
"Volleyball's really fun and it's a team sport," Bush said. "Track is more individual. There's more pressure. If I don't do well, it's my own fault."
Mount Olive's Keturah Orji set a meet record in the 55-meter dash, crossing the finish line in 7.32. Vanessa Lewis of Morris Catholic held the record, running a 7.33 in 1994.
Casey Furness of Morris Hills was another first-place finisher from Morris County. Furness ran a 43.22 in the 300-meter dash. Her teammate, Ulana Thompson, prevailed in the 1,000-meter run in 3:06.77.
The 4x400-meter relay was won by Mount Olive in 4:13.37. Comprising that team were Alicia Warren, Marissa Karl, Micaela Poggi and Orji.
Carrie Wasdyke of Jefferson was tops in the shot put with a throw of 40-05.5.
***For complete results, see mctrack.org.
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