By Ben Stroup
Orange junior Anna Watson picked a pretty good time to set a personal record, clearing a career-best height of 13-04 to nab a state championship in the Division I girls pole vault competition Saturday afternoon at OSU’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Watson, who won last week’s regional crown with an effort of 12-0, missed her first vault at 11-0, but didn’t miss again until she had already ensured a place on the podium. She cleared 12-08, 13-0 and 13-04 on her second try at each height to wrap up the title.
“Anna started vaulting a little over a year and a half ago, and we have a great vault coach in Shawn O’Neill,” Orange coach Adam Walters said. “He and Anna work very hard year round. Shawn said she was ready to go over 13-0 … and he was right.
“For her to win state and clear 13-04 is incredible. She hates to lose and really did incredible on the big stage.”
Watson, who is the school’s second state champ, attempted what would have been a state-meet record of 13-07, but couldn’t quite clear the bar. Her winning vault currently ranks her tied for ninth in the county.
Geneva senior Ally Thompson finished second thanks to her effort of 13-0 while Olentangy’s Siobhan Szerencsits finished eighth in the event with a height of 11-06.
While Watson was the only area athlete to reach the top of the podium, she certainly wasn’t the only one to earn a spot in the state’s top eight.
Liberty’s Mitchell Towne finished fourth in the boys 800-meter run (1:53.70), Orange’s Allison Guagenti, just a freshman, finished sixth in the girls 1,600-meter run (4:59.33), the Patriots’ Trevor Collins closed seventh in the boys 200 (21.99 seconds), Big Walnut’s Abe Myers finished eighth in the boys discus (161-11) and Olentangy’s Kyle Brookshire finished eighth in the boys pole vault (14-06).
Others in action included Big Walnut’s Ellie Jindra, who finished tied for ninth in the girls high jump (5-04); Liberty’s Claire Linn, who closed ninth in the girls 800-meter run (2:13.71); Liberty’s Canaan Cook, who was ninth in the boys pole vault (14-06); Buckeye Valley’s Zach Kreft, who finished 10th in the boys 3,200 (9:22.22); and Liberty’s Ryan Jones, who finished 15th in the boys pole vault (NH).
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.