Grothaus continues Grove tradition with vault crown
COLUMBUS — It was something Columbus Grove senior Collin Grothaus had seen before.
Over the years, Grothaus watched former Columbus Grove vaulters Heath Nickles and Tyler Wolfe win state titles.
Nickles, who just wrapped up his senior season on the Ohio State track and field team, won state titles at Columbus Grove in 2007 and 2008. Wolfe took home first place in 2011.
In the first day of the state track meet at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on Friday, Grothaus added his name to the list of state championship boy pole vaulters from Columbus Grove.
On Friday, it came down to Grothaus and Seneca East’s Zach Gregg, as the field of competitors dwindled quickly.
Grothaus avoided elimination at two different heights en route to winning the Division III title with a vault of 15 feet 3 inches. After clearing his previous heights with ease, Gregg failed to clear 15-3, giving Grothaus an opportunity to seize the title.
After both vaulters cleared 14-9, the bar was then moved up to 15-3. After a brief discussion with his coaches about the possibility of passing on 15-3, Grothaus decided to go ahead and attempt that height.
“We got to 15-3, and if we would have both cleared it then he would be ahead of me on (least) misses,” Grothaus said. “So, I went over there and talked to them (the coaches) and they said, ‘You know what? If you clear it and he doesn’t, then you’re going to win too. So, you might as well vault it.’
“I missed my first two attempts, cleared on my third and put the pressure on him a little bit and he missed. It’s just a great feeling.”
Grothaus said both his vault coach Bob Baxter and his father (Chris Grothaus, head boys coach) gave his some sound advice.
“Twice, I had to make it on third vaults at different heights,” Grothaus said. “I was getting a little bit nervous. But, Bob and my dad helped calm me down and relax me, so I could go out and vault the way that I could.
“Bob just came up to me and said, ‘You know what, if you don’t make this, you’re going to lose. So, take a deep breath, relax, take your time, rest your legs up and go vault.’”
After Grothaus clinched the title, he then attempted 16-2, which would have been a new Division III state-meet record (Heath Nickles, 16-1 ½, 2008). However, Grothaus missed on all three attempts.
Last season, Grothaus finished seventh at the state meet with a vault of 13-6. Coming into this year’s state meet, his personal best was 15-0.
“It’s an amazing feeling; it really is,” Grothaus said. “To have Heath Nickles win it when I was younger and to have Tyler win it. … Now, to be able to bring back the third championship vaulter to Grove, it’s amazing.”
NOTE: After six scored events on Friday, Rootstown is leading the Division III boys teams with 20 points. Columbus Grove is second (19), while Lima Central Catholic is third (18).