SE’s Gregg looking to vault to the top of the podium

Zach Gregg came so close to a state title in the pole vault a year ago.

Now, he’s back for another shot at it.

Gregg leads four Seneca East athletes to this weekend’s Division III state meet. Gregg is coming off a regional title last week in Tiffin, when he cleared 14-8. Last year at state, Gregg finished second, and was an opponent’s miss away from a championship.

SE boys coach Justin Ruffing said Gregg knows he can win.

“Whoever has a good day vaulting can win,” Ruffing said. “He can do that.

“That experience [last year] should definitely pay off for him, he has the highest expectation he can have.”

As for Gregg, he was succinct when asked about his expectations.

“Have plenty of fun. That’s about it,” he said.

Seneca East also will have a pair of runners in the 3,200 in Jason Willman and Jared Stockmaster.

Ruffing said the 3,200 is a different race.

“You have to be very aware of where you are and where everyone else is. There’s strategy to it,” Ruffing said.

In the distance runners’ case, they are used to the pressure of state meets. Each were part of the Tigers’ cross country championship in 2012. Regardless, Willman, a senior, knows this is it for what has been a remarkable prep career.

Ruffing said Willman has had to run through numerous injuries in his four seasons, but is in a good spot this year.

“We haven’t talked a whole lot about the end of his career,” Ruffing said. “But we did talk about it today. He’s had so many seasons, by the end of the season he’s barely hanging on. It’s kind of been nice – he’s been relatively healthy and ready to run.”

As for Stockmaster, Ruffing said the junior knows what’s expected.

“He’s from a family that knows what distance is about, it’s something he’s been working for for a long time,” Ruffing said. “It’s another day at the office.”

“Both of them want to be all-state and be in the top eight.”

Seneca East’s Kaylyn Goshe will compete in the discus. It’s the senior’s first time at state.

“I think we’d pretty much both like her to get on the podium,” SE girls coach Elizabeth Crapo. “She’ll have to throw her best throw.”

Crapo said the hard part was getting to state. Now, she just wants Goshe to enjoy the experience.

“We’ve stressed this week should be fun,” Crapo said. “It’s all about fun.”