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Khoury siblings win pole vault divisions at California State Games

Joe Naiman

Village News Reporter

It is impossible for all three of the Khoury siblings to win age group championships in a track and field event since Maya and Sahara are twins and compete in the same division. The best possible scenario of two siblings winning championships occurred July 15 at the California State Games at University City High School in San Diego when Maya won the girls 17-18 pole vault championship and Kingston took home the boys 13-14 pole vault championship.

Kingston had a winning height of 11'6" and Maya cleared 11'5". Sahara, who is recovering from an ankle injury, cleared 10'0" to place sixth in the girls 17-18 division.

The Khoury siblings are lifelong Fallbrook residents. Their parents moved to Fallbrook in 2004. Maya and Sahara were born in May 2006 and were Fallbrook High School juniors during the 2022-23 academic and CIF athletic year. Kingston was born in January 2010 and will be a Sullivan Middle School eighth-grader when the new school year starts.

All three of the Khoury siblings have been pole vaulters for just over two years. During the coronavirus shutdown, the family was seeking activities. They learned about the North County Pole Vault Club in Escondido, and the children took up the sport.

Pole vaulting also allowed the Khoury siblings to have an additional bond with their father, Nader, who was a pole vaulter at John Marshall High School in Los Angeles. Their mother, Rima, attended Aiea High School in Hawaii and was a dancer.

In the Khoury twins' freshman year at Fallbrook High School, the Warriors had the top four girls pole vault heights at the Valley League championship meet. Sahara took second with a height of 9'6" while Maya cleared 9'0" for fourth place. Due to various factors involving coronavirus restrictions, the CIF had division preliminaries but not an all-division finals in 2021; Sahara cleared 9'6" at the Division II meet to share sixth place.

Fallbrook had the top three girls pole vault heights at the 2022 Valley League meet. Maya had a height of 10'6" for second and Sahara had the third-place height of 9'0".

Rose Wagner won the Valley League girls pole vault championship both in 2021 and in 2022. Wagner graduated from Fallbrook High School in 2022 and was a 2022-23 freshman at the University of Massachusetts, which is in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Wagner was fifth at this year's Atlantic 10 Conference championship meet. Her graduation from Fallbrook High School provided the Khoury twins an opportunity to win a league championship.

A sore back and a sprained ankle caused Sahara to miss the two meets prior to the league championship meet. Those two absences followed a personal record of 11'0" April 19 at Fallbrook's home dual meet against Valley Center. The Khoury twins took first and second in the 2023 Valley League meet May 6 at Valley Center High School.

Maya not only won the league championship but set a personal record of 11'3". Sahara had a height of 10'3" for second place.

Aiden Bernier, who was also a Fallbrook High School junior in 2022‑23, won the boys pole vault league championship with a height of 13'6". That was not a personal record, but the 14'6" he achieved both in the CIF Division II preliminaries and the CIF finals was. Bernier also cleared 14'6" at the USA Track and Field San Diego-Imperial Association Championships meet June 3. He matched that height at the California State Games but settled for third place in the boys 17-18 division.

Both Khoury sisters cleared 10'9" in this year's CIF Division II preliminaries May 13 at University City High School. A high jumper or pole vaulter has three chances to clear each distance, and misses at that distance or at lower distances are used as the tiebreaker. Maya was awarded fourth place and Sahara received fifth place.

The CIF finals took place May 20 at Mount Carmel High School. Four Division II girls cleared 10'9" with Cathedral Catholic junior Natalie Hobbs being given third place and Maya Khoury receiving fourth place.

The ankle injury hinders Sahara's ability to plant and obtain power on her lift. She had the eighth-place height of 9'3" at the CIF finals.

Maya Khoury, 2022-23 Chadwick High School (Palos Verdes Peninsula) junior Madison Elhaik, and Hobbs all cleared 11' 5" at the California State Games. Khoury was given first place due to the tiebreaker of misses at lower distances. The 11'5" set personal records for both Khoury and Hobbs; Elhaik cleared 11'6" at a pair of high school invitational meets this year.

Kingston Khoury reached 11'6" by clearing his first attempt at that distance and all lower distances at the California State Games. Ailbe Gorzowski of Manhattan Beach had the second-place distance of 7 '3". Khoury matched the personal record he set May 28 at an Olympic Training Center meet in Chula Vista. His previous personal record of 10'9" was set Dec. 27 at a Vaulter Club meet in Menifee.


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