Despite erratic weather, five Suburbanite-area athletes delivered consistent performances to place in the top six in their respective events at the state track and field championships at Jesse Owens Stadium on the Ohio State University campus.
Green senior pole vaulter Morgan Estes capped her dominant season with a record-breaking leap of 13-0.25 to remain unbeaten and defend the title she won as a junior last season.
“The whole way down (during her vault) I was celebrating before I even hit the mat and once I hit the mat, I ran over and hugged my coach,” Estes said. “It was awesome.”
With Estes leading the way, the Bulldogs placed seventh in the Division I standings, earning 19 points. For the Kent State recruit, the celebration began unofficially as she cleared 12-6 after all of the other competitors had fouled out. However, there was still the Division I record to chase and that feat came moments later. Estes ultimately came up short at 13-3 in an effort to break the overall state record for all divisions, but she wasn’t about to let that detail curtail her excitement.
“I am really happy. I know it wasn’t the overall record I wanted to get, but it was the Division I meet and state record, so I’ll take it,” Estes said with a laugh.
After the pole vault concluded, the Bulldogs’ remaining two competitors took center stage in the finals of the 400 and 800, respectively. Junior Emily Hooker qualified third for the finals of the 400 with a time of 55.94 and entered the finals with a chance at claiming her first state title.
Prior to her semifinal heat, Hooker was so nervous that she literally became sick to her stomach. Competing successfully with the best in the state helped calm her nerves heading into the finals.
Karrington Winters of New Albany proved to be too much for the field in the finals, cutting more than two seconds off her qualifying time and running a 53.59.
Hooker crossed the finish line third, establishing a new personal best in the process with a time of 55.19.
“I’m happy with my time because it was my personal best for the season and the state meet is a great place to do that,” Hooker said.
Her podium appearance came despite competing with a torn abdominal muscle all season long. The injury didn’t cause any serious pain while running, but her doctors did limit how much training she was able to do.