Robbinsville junior pole vaulter Craig Hunter wanted to make something very clear after winning the state pole vault championship at the 44th NJSIAA Meet of Champions on Monday inOldBridge despite not setting a personal record:
He’s happy with the result.
“It’s a huge deal to come out here and use what I love to do something good for the school,” Hunter said. “I was more than excited with the day.”
Hunter entered the day with a personal best mark of 15-6 ½, but only a 15-0 was needed to clinch Robbinsville’s first outdoor M of C title, as winds hindered the competitors.
“I knew today would be a 15-foot day no matter what,” Hunter said. “The wind was varying. One jump I’d have zero wind, the next jump I’d have five-to-10 mile an hour headwind. It was all about the timing.”
Hunter said his jumping technique is still a work in progress. But, he said, his strength is power and speed, and he was fortunate to be able to fall back on those assets and push through the wind, while others struggled.
“I could tell that a bunch of people that should be clearing got out early,” Hunter said.
Skylar Johnson of Point Pleasant Boro, who Hunter counts as one of his good friends, was second with 14-6.
“We practice with each other, we go to the same clubs, we go to the same meets,” Hunter said. “We’re friends. We always compete, but we’re friendly.”
Somerville‘s Connor Grunwald was third with 14-0. North Hunterdon‘s Ryan Potter, who won the Group 4 title with a jump of 15-0, was not able to compete Monday. The senior was attending his freshman orientation at UNC-Wilmington.
Hunter said he attributes his status as Robbinsville’s first outdoor state champion more to the fact the Mercer County school has only been open since 2005 than anything he did.
“We’re a very young school,” Hunter said. “We’re just starting to get our program off the ground.
“I’m certainly not going to be the last.”
By James Kratch