Senior Jake Blankenship of the Gahanna Lincoln High School boys track and field team enters the Division I state meet with visions of setting new state and national records in the pole vault.
He insists, though, that he hasn’t lost sight of his main objective, which is to defend his state title in the meet Friday, June 1, and Saturday, June 2, at Ohio State.
Blankenship cleared a state-, meet- and stadium-record height of 17 feet to win his first state title last year after finishing fourth (15-8) as a sophomore.
On May 17, he broke his state record by clearing 17-1 to finish first in the district 1 meet at Hilliard Darby.
“I want to jump 18-4 to set a new national record or at least hit the 18-foot mark to get another (personal record),” Blankenship said. “But defending my state title is my No. 1 priority because I’ll still have a few more shots at the national record when I compete in national meets in June.
“If I can clear 16 feet on my first attempt and then clear 16-6 or 16-8, I think I’ll be in good shape. I think 17 feet could win state for sure.”
Blankenship won the event in the regional meet May 23 and 25 at Pickerington North by clearing a meet-record 17-3/4.
“I haven’t thought too much about getting the regional meet record,” he said. “I’m just excited that I jumped 17 feet again because this is the first time that I’ve been consistent at 17 feet two weeks in a row.”
By AARON BLANKENSHIP