Record vault for Milford senior ‘an adrenaline rush

And she danced.

Milford High School senior Lia Sturgeon set the school record in pole vault, clearing 9-foot-9 at the Anderson Invitational in April.

“When I was going up for it I wasn’t sure I was going to clear it,” Sturgeon said. “I remember falling back and seeing the bar didn’t move. I just jumped up and ran over to my dad and started hugging him. They were like ‘We’re trying to run a track meet here,’ but I was so happy I was just dancing around all over the place.”

Milford girls head coach Tracy Neal Adams said her lone senior routinely brings that kind of joy to practice and meets.

“She is one of those kids who is coachable and happy” Adams said. “She brings a good spirit or karma with the way she builds up the other kids. To know her is to like her. As our only senior, she really has embraced being a leader, taking the younger kids and setting an example for them. She has a great time doing what she does.”

Sturgeon started vaulting in eighth grade at Glen Este Middle School. She said parent Kenny and Kelly Sturgeon made her go out for a sport “because I was too hyper; I picked track because thought all the running would wear me out.”

Newbies got a look at every event at the first practice, both running and in the field. But when Sturgeon picked up the pole, she new she’d found a home.

“I like the feeling that you’re just flying in the air,” she said. “It’s an adrenaline rush. Running is fine, but once you plant the pole and start going up, it’s amazing.”

Sturgeon set the school record on a pole she borrowed from the New Richmond track team. She has since gotten a new pole and has cleared 10 feet in practice. Her goal is to finish the season at 10-foot-6 or higher.

The record vault puts her among the top three in the Eastern Cincinnati Conference; Lily Bunse of Kings has cleared 11-foot-4 for the Knights, while Glen Este’s Ashley Mues hit 10 feet.

“You have to be fearless and strong and coachable,” Adams said. “You have to be fearless. If you’re scared, don’t do it. Lia is not scared at all.”

Which isn’t to say she hasn’t endured some scary moments. Sturgeon had her tonsils out sophomore year. Complications from the surgery left her bleeding in the throat and forced several returns to the hospital to cauterize the wounds.

She missed a month of school and doctors said track was likely a part of her past. But Sturgeon rested, recovered and came back, setting what was then the Glen Este school record at eight feet in her first meet back.

Sturgeon moved to Florida soon after, but the family returned to the Tristate in time for Lia to join the Milford track team as a junior. Kenny, Kelly and brother Brandyn, 19, often help her set up the vault pit before practice.

Lia plans to attend Wilmington College and possibly continue vaulting for the Quakers. She wants to study criminal justice with an eye toward become a game warden. An accomplished hunter, she bagged her first buck at age 11 and harvested her largest to date – 10 points – the next year.





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