Pole-vaulter can only go up, he thinks, from 16-foot mark

Aaric Milligan didn’t go to the type of high school where students specialize in a sport.

Before graduating with a class of about 100 at Orrville High School in Wayne County, Milligan participated in track and field, football, soccer, basketball and hockey — juggling three or four sports a year.

He continued the pace at Otterbein University, where for three years he was a kicker for the football team in the fall and a pole-vaulter for the track team in the spring.

For his senior year, Milligan decided to skip football and try out for a sport he hadn’t played in four years: soccer.

He became a starting forward who scored four goals, the second-most on the team.

And the extra conditioning from soccer, Milligan thinks, has prepared him for his best-ever track season.

Going into the weekend’s All-Ohio Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Ohio Wesleyan University, Milligan has the second-best Division III pole vault in the nation: 16 feet, 11/4 inches — up from 15 feet, 5 inches last season.

“For me, that’s an incredible improvement,” he said. “I haven’t seen an improvement like that since my senior year in high school.”

Track head coach Dave Lehman said Milligan is a versatile athlete who sometimes fills spots on relay teams, in hurdling events or in the high jump. He balances the demands of multiple athletic seasons with a nursing major, which requires that he spend 24 hours a week at Grant Medical Center.

“A lot of kids, if they tackled as much as he did, you’d get the sense that they were spreading themselves too thin,” Lehman said. “I never get that sense with Aaric.”

A pole-vaulter since seventh grade, Milligan qualified for the NCAA indoor meet for the first time last month but was disappointed with his 11th {+-}place performance (14 feet, 83/4 inches).

During the outdoor season, he sees opportunities to improve as he competes against his friend Chase Addy, a Muskingum University senior, whose vault of 15 feet, 9 inches is fourth-best in the nation.Milligan hit his personal record, second-best in Otterbein history, in the second outdoor meet of the season. Having already won the event at 15 feet, 3 inches, he kept raising the bar.

“Sixteen (feet) was a mental block that I’d been trying to get over for a while,” he said. “Now that I’ve done it, I think it’ll come a little easier. I can look to go higher.”


Milligan Vaulter Magazine
Milligan Vaulter Magazine

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