COLUMBUS: Junior Morgan Estes continued Green High School’s tradition of excellence in pole vaulting with a vault of 12 feet, 5 inches, winning the Division I state title at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Estes follows Carrie Kayes (2005) and two-time champion Kelsie Ahbe (‘07, ‘08) as state champions.
As a freshman, Estes placed second in the state meet and then failed to make the podium last year. Green pole vaulting coach Eric Allen saw the competitive mindset and work ethic put forth by Estes after the disappointing finish to her sophomore year and fully expected her to go from off the podium to standing on top of it.
“I expected her to do exactly what she did today, although if you ask her she’ll be upset because she wanted to get higher, but that’s a great sign of a competitor,” Allen said. “She’s worked hard all year, and we’re talking October. After last year’s state meet, she made it up in her mind that she wasn’t going to have that happen again. There’s no one in the state that’s worked harder than her.”
Estes just missed hitting 12 feet, 10 inches, which would have been a school record. That’s now the benchmark for her senior season.
“I wanted the school- and even the state-meet record today, but of course this is all really exciting, especially coming off of last year, which wasn’t my best,” Estes said. “Coming back and working hard all year and through the winter, I’m glad it paid off.”
Also placing in the pole vault were sophomore Nicole Rozsa and senior Nicole Waibel of Cuyahoga Falls. They took fourth and fifth place, respectively. Rozsa also did it while using a bigger pole than she was used to.
Brunswick senior Brianna Neitzel finished third in the Division I 100-meter dash with a time of 12.32 seconds and placed second in the 400-meter dash (55.11 seconds). Neitzel, who will be attending Ohio State in the fall, was the defending state champ in the 400 but had no qualms about coming in second this year to New Albany freshman Karrington Winters, who ran it in 53.95 seconds.
“I’m content with everything that’s happened,” she said. “I know that wasn’t my best time so I could’ve done better, but even my best time wouldn’t have beat her.”
For St. Vincent-St. Mary, both the girls and boys 800 relay teams — each of which were nearly disqualified in the preliminaries for faulty handoffs — took second place (1:46.36 for the girls and 1:27.66 for the boys). Freshman Imani Davis said the girls relay team, which consists of Davis, two sophomores and a junior, are coming back next year “with a vengeance.” She also later placed fifth in the 200-meter dash with a time of 26.03 seconds.
St. V-M senior Patrick O’Brien ran the 1,600 meters in 4:22.34 to finish in fourth. Woodridge senior Drake Sulzer finished just ahead of him in third.
CVCA freshman Autumn Young placed fifth in the Division II 100-meter dash (12.6) and was a part of the 800-relay team that also finished fifth. For Young, it was a superb ending to a tumultuous year in which shin splints and then two strained hamstrings robbed her of most of the season. Young wasn’t able to return until a week before the district meet but still ended up in Columbus.
“I wasn’t even expecting to be here, really,” Young said. “But it’s a great start to my high school career.”
CVCA freshman Sammy Bockoven placed third in the girls 1,600-meter run (5:05.94) and sixth in the 3,200 (11:19.8).
Copley senior Nick Pupino took third place in the Division I 3,200-meter run with a personal-best time of 9:10.55.
Triway junior Tessa Brooks placed in three events Saturday — third in the Division II 300-meter hurdles (44.7 seconds), third in the long jump (17 feet, 3¼ inches) and fourth in the pole vault (11 feet, 3 inches).
“I just wanted to go out there and run my best and give it all I got and I did, so I’m happy about that,” Brooks said.
Alexa Jarrett of Orrville took second in the Division II pole vault (11 feet, 6 inches).
The Canton South girls 400 relay team of senior Alexis Lancaster, sophomores Sydney Vaughn and Taylor Thompkins and junior Imani Bush finished third with a time of 49.46 seconds.
Lauren Pannell, a junior from Archbishop Hoban, took fifth in the Division I girls long jump with a jump of 5 feet, 4 inches.
Crestwood senior Karlie Lieberth took third in the Division II girls 800-meter run and was a part of the 1,600-meter relay team that placed sixth.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the high school blog at http://www.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.