A WPIAL pole vault champion last season, GCC’s Karabin continues to raise the bar

Greensburg Central Catholic senior Michelle Karabin won’t be celebrating the prom Friday with her classmates.

Instead, the reigning WPIAL Class AA pole vault champion hopes to celebrate her own way while competing at the Baldwin Invitational.

She will be trying to improve her marks against some of the top competition in the area.

Karabin recently set a personal record by clearing 12 feet during a meet at Southmoreland on April 26. She followed that performance by winning the Westmoreland County Coaches’ Association meet Saturday at Latrobe where she cleared 11-6, edging Hempfield sophomore and returning WPIAL Class AAA champion Molly DeBone.

“I’d rather compete because I’m not big on dances,” Karabin said about why she spurned her high school prom. “Jumping at Baldwin against good competition will be better for me.

“I like jumping at Baldwin because of the platform runway. I’d like to jump well there again.”

Karabin, who barely cleared 7 feet as a sophomore, made a huge jump in one season, crediting her gymnastics background. She also is friends with DeBone and watched former Hempfield vaulter Bridget Guy compete.

Guy is the 2014 PIAA Class AAA champion.

“I followed what Bridget did, and it inspired me,” Karabin said. “I got interested in jumping after my freshman year. My coach said being a gymnast would benefit me.

“I worked on my technique during the summer and went to a couple Westminster camps. You get to a point where things just started clicking.”

Greensburg Central Catholic coach Mike Brewer said watching Karabin develop has been amazing.

“Two years ago, I watched her no height at 7-6 in an event,” Brewer said. “She’s a worker. That disappointment inspired her to work harder. It shows her dedication and a drive. I don’t need to push her.”

Karabin said she is looking forward to the next month.

She helped her team qualify for Monday’s WPIAL Class AA team finals at Baldwin. She also runs the 100- and 300-meter hurdles.

“I do them just to score points and help the team,” said Karabin, who will be attending Carnegie Mellon to vault and study chemical engineering.

Karabin hopes to help the GCC girls to their first WPIAL title since 2006.

“She’ll do anything I ask her,” Brewer said. “She won the 300 hurdles and tied for second with her teammate in the 100 hurdles (at the semifinal qualifier). She was one of the biggest reasons why we advanced. Without her points we probably don’t advance.”

But after Monday, Karabin’s focus strictly will be on her main event.

“Everyone has goals,” said Karabin, who placed third in the state in 2015. “I’d like to win the WPIAL title again and do better in the state (meet). That won’t be easy because Katie Jones (South Williamsport) has already cleared 13-3 this season.”

Jones, a junior, placed fourth in the state last year with a jump of 11-0. The girls who placed first and second graduated.

“I can’t worry what she’s done,” Karabin said. “My pole vault coach (Tyler Kollar) has told me, ‘We’ll do our darndest’ when the time comes.”



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