VAULTER VAULTER

Track: Ridgewood vaulters leave on a high note

COLUMBUS — Whomever pole vaults next year at Ridgewood won’t have an enviable task, because Chris Saylor and Meghan Cunningham have set the bar high.

Both Generals ended their careers by earning All-Ohio finishes during the Division III state track meet Friday at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

This was the second consecutive year Saylor earned All-Ohio in the event, while it was Cunningham’s first. Saylor was fifth, and Cunningham was eighth.

“I think this really highlights our area,” Saylor said. “There were three from Coshocton County, including Kaitlyn Martin from River View. That really shows what we have.”

Saylor bested his top height from a year ago of 13 feet in his first attempt at 13-6. He was unable to clear 14-0, missing on all three tries, but his final mark was good enough for him to tie for fifth place, two spots better than in 2011.

The top eight finishers in each event earn All-Ohio.

But Saylor wasn’t satisfied with his effort. He had hoped to get a shot at 15-0, which was the winning height posted by Sugar Grove Berne Union’s Jesse Oxley.

“I would have rather to have ended on a better note,” Saylor said. “I got 14-6 last week and I was over 14-0 every time. I’m disappointed. I didn’t do as well as I wanted to.”

Saylor’s disappointment was slightly eased when his pole-vault coach Tom Addy told him he made All-Ohio.

“It feels good to do that again,” Saylor said. “Not too many people can say they did that twice in their high school career. It’s great to get here, but to get All-Ohio, it makes it that even better.”

Addy and Ridgewood coach Josh Lahmers were happy with Saylor’s effort.

“Just to get here is a challenge,” Lahmers said. “Most people don’t get a chance to compete at the highest level. I’m just happy he got here two years in a row.”

Cunningham earned All-Ohio by taking eighth at 10-0.

“I’m really happy,” Cunningham said. “My goal was to get on the podium. I wish I could have cleared higher, but I can’t ask for much more. I got to come back (to state) with my two best buddies (Garaway’s Roxy Dunn and Newcomerstowns’ Cydney McMillan).”

Cunningham’s two friends were happy for her, but McMillan had to give her a hard time. McMillan equaled Cunningham at 10-0, but was edged on attempts.

Cool and windy weather conditions made the event more difficult, as Amanda Hotaling of North Baltimore won the event at 12-4.

But Cunningham tried not the let the weather bother her.

“It affected me a little, but not too much,” she said. “It was calm when I jumped, but it was blowing harder for the other girls.”

In Division II, Coshocton senior Emily Clark missed qualifying for today’s finals in the 100 after finishing in 16th place with a time of 13.07. The top nine finishers in the event moved on to the finals.

“My legs were killing me,” Clark said after the race. “I did the best I could. I wish I could have ran here when I was healthy.”

Clark knew the competition was fierce — Aaliyah Barnes, of Columbus Eastmoor Academy, posted the best semifinal time of 12.12 — but she had hoped to beat someone in the event.

“We were hoping she could get 12.7 like she did the other day,” Coshocton coach Keith Matz said. “But that didn’t happen. But this is the best place to finish your career, at the state track meet.”

Instead of being disappointed with her run, Clark was honored to have had a chance to compete.

“Just to be here, it’s more than I expected,” she said. “I’m happy to have ran my last race here. I ended my career the best way I could. It doesn’t matter if I was eighth. I did the best for myself.”

The meet continues today at Ohio State. River View seniors Martin and Ethan Widder will compete in the Division II meet. Martin will look to equal her fellow Coshocton County vaulters with an All-Ohio performance starting at 9 a.m., and Widder will run the 1,600 at 1:35 p.m.

At noon, Tri-Valley’s Kaylee Antill competes in the Division I discus final.

By Kreg Robinson

From http://www.coshoctontribune.com/article/20120602/HSSPORTS/206020311

Meghan Cunningham

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