Seneca East has a field day

COLUMBUS -Twice, Seneca East’s Zach Gregg was a miss away from the Division III state title in pole vault.

Twice, Columbus Grove’s Collin Grothaus – the only other competitor left – cleared the required height.

Had Grothaus not cleared 15-3 with his third vault, the Seneca East junior would have won the event. When Grothaus cleared it, the onus shifted to Gregg, who had missed 15-3 on his first two attempts. When he missed on the third, Grothaus was champion.

“I think we could have used another five pounds (on the pole),” Seneca East vault coach Gary England said, “to give him a little more spring.”

Grothaus had been down to one vault minutes earlier, when Gregg had cleared 14-6 and Grothaus missed on his first two chances.

Even after Grothaus cleared 14-6, the advantage still stood with Gregg due to criteria.

“I never want to hope that someone doesn’t make a height,” said Gregg, whose final height cleared was 15-0. “I was just kind of watching to see what happened. Anxious.”

He wasn’t the only one.

Gregg’s teammate, freshman Cory Depinet, who cleared 13-0 to take sixth, was asked if he was more nervous during his tries or Gregg’s.

“I was nervous for him toward the end there,” Depinet said.

It was a big jump for Gregg. He qualified at state for the pole vault last season, but didn’t clear a height.

“That wasn’t such a great feeling,” Gregg said. “I just kind of worked as hard as I could. I’m very happy with what I did.”

England was, too.

“Zach, he’s done great,” England said. “I couldn’t ask any more from him. He’s a very good competitor, he’s got great form, and he’s very smooth through that form.”

As for Depinet, England said he only will get better.

“We’ve just got to get him used to vaulting a little higher,” England said. “He tends to shoot for the bar, we’ve got to get him used to getting his hips up over, and just following through with it; not worrying about the bar.”

Depinet said he was confident about reaching the height he needed to place where he did.

“I was really nervous starting out, but I knew I could get 13 feet again, and I was hoping to get 13-6,” he said.

The vaulters weren’t the only Tigers to place Friday.

In the girls shot put, Ashton Daniel placed fifth, throwing 41-2 .

“Couldn’t ask for a better way to end my career,” the senior said. “Very happy with it.”

The winning throw for the event was 45-8 by Fairlawn’s Olivia Cummings. Daniel said it was a tough field of throwers to compete with.

“You had to go out there and throw your best today,” Daniel said. “There were a lot of 40-plus-footers out there and this is the best of the best in Ohio. These are the best girls I’ve thrown against in my whole career.”

Another Tiger, Ben Hahler, competed in both throwing events. He threw 143-8 in the discus for 11th, and placed 14th in the shot, throwing 49-8 .

One SE athlete competed in a preliminary. Kevin Moore, despite running in Lane 8, placed second in his heat in the 110 hurdles, gaining automatic entry into today’s finals.

Moore ran in 14.78, the fourth-best time overall.

Moore, who made state last year, was asked about his expectations.

“Go for first,” he said. “Anything better than sixth is better than last year.”

One other Tiger will compete today, with Jason Willman having qualified for the 1,600 and 3,200.

It’s shaping up to be a big weekend for Seneca East.

“I’d definitely say that Seneca East has made a name for (itself),” Gregg said.