CHARLESTON - In her third trip to the state track meet, Sierah Ruffner qualified for the finals of the high jump.
The Vandalia senior cleared 5 feet, 2 inches with ease to automatically qualify for Saturday's state finals in the event, something she was unable to do in her freshman and junior years.
There will be 15 jumpers in the finals, and the top sectional jump was 5 feet, 8 inches, with one other participant clearing 5 feet, 4 inches. Those two were the only two to clear better than 5 feet, 2 inches at sectionals, and Ruffner's personal best is 5 feet, 5 inches.
The high jump finals will begin at 10 a.m. on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
Two other area athletes also participated in Thursday's preliminaries.
St. Elmo junior Molly Hill - last year's seventh-place finisher - had a tough day, throwing 98 feet, 5 inches in discus.
Patoka freshman Taylor Issak had a good showing in her first state appearance, finishing the 300-meter hurdles in 48.95 seconds to finish fifth in her heat. She was about two seconds from qualifying for the finals.