CORTLAND – Abby Dunn holds a weight-appropriate pole vault pole which is held at a 45-degree angle as she charges toward a sizable blue mat.
Before getting to the mat, the pole is steadied in the front as it bends and her momentum lifts Dunn in the air, carries her over the bar – crashing to the mat below.
“If you do it properly, it’s a little bit scary every now and then because you’re not expecting it,” said Dunn prior to winning the girls pole vault with a height of 8 feet, 6 inches at Thursday’s Division II district track and field meet at Lakeview High School. “It’s a cool feeling.”
On the boys side, Lakeview senior Louie Novakovich finished third with a personal best 13-0 and junior A.J. Miller was fourth (12-6). The top four in each final advance to next week’s regional in Bedford.
“I liked the wind at my back, I think that helped a lot,” Novakovich said. “When I first got out there, my legs felt good. That was a confidence boost in the beginning.”
For Miller, he said it would be better if more schools around Trumbull County would pole vault. This year, Girard had the event. Indians freshman Caitlyn Trebella finished fourth in the girls pole vault (7-0).
“It’s a great sport,” Miller said. “It’s not one you can learn really quickly. It takes a lot of time and dedication, even in the offseason you have to keep training.
“It would be a lot more fun if there were a lot more schools around here that had it.”
As for Dunn, she’ll leave a legacy as the school’s first-ever female pole vaulter. Lakeview started competing in the event in 2009.
“It’s cool to set that first record and let girls know there are other events for us to do,” she said. “No one believes me when I say I’m a pole vaulter because it’s so crazy. It’s cool to say it and I hope other girls get that enjoyment too.”
By JOHN VARGO