By Rob Kiser
COLUMBUS — How do you top three trips to the podium, two school records and a Division II state championship at the state track and field meet Saturday at Jesse Owens Stadium?
If your Versailles senior Jenna Frantz, you hit the “scholarship height”.
Frantz, won the D-II state pole vault title after finishing seventh as a freshman and second as a sophomore — clearing 12-2 on her first attempt, while Alex Eby and Karlie Lax of Orrville both missed at that height..
“Honestly, I was hoping they would make it and keep going,” Frantz said. “All, I was thinking about (once she won), was where to set the bar for the next attempt.”
The decision was an easy.
Frantz moved the bar to 12-9 and cleared it on her first attempt, before missing on all three attempts at 13-0 after being perfect on the day going to that height.
“That (12-9) is the scholarship height at the University of Akron (where she will vault next year),” Frantz, who already has an academic scholarship to the school, said. “You have to clear 12-9 for an athletic scholarship. Akron has a great program. They had two pole vaulters in the last Olympics. I can’t wait to get there.”
Frantz had plenty of drive this year, after having an injury shorten her season a year ago.
“Having a concussion and not getting to compete at state last year, there was a lot of motivation for me this year,” she said
And she had one goal Saturday.
“Winning a state championship was definitely what was on my mind coming over here,” Frantz said.
And it didn’t come easy.
Frantz had to compete in the long jump and pole vault Saturday morning at the same time.
She passed on the first several heights to go take her three jumps in the long jump preliminaries.
Then, when she was called back for the finals — she left and launched a jump of 18-5 1-2 — a school record — on her second jump in the finals, good for third place in that event.
“I am used to having to do both (events),” she said. “It is a little tougher over here, but when I hit that jump, it gave me momentum for the pole vault. It just seemed like I was in the air forever (on the school record long jump).”
She didn’t miss a beat when she returned to the pole vault and when Frantz was the only one to clear 12-2, the title was hers.
“My family has been so great,” she said. “Everyone has been so supportive. My family leaves me encouraging notes all the time.”
But, not one that said win a state title.
“That is the great thing about track,” she said. “It is all about goals. Even when you don’t win, you can PR and reach your goal.”
And Frantz wasn’t quite done yet.
In the afternoon, she came back and teamed with Lucy Prakel, Cassie Peters and Ava Moran for sixth in the 400 relay in 49.74.
“It has been great to where the Lady Tigers uniform the last four years,” Frantz said. “This is a great way to finish. I couldn’t be happier.”
And one reason was seeing Prakel, a freshman, clear 11-2 and finish sixth in the pole vault.
“I have been wanting a ‘partner in crime’ since I came over here,” Frantz said with a laugh about the pole vault. “My goal at the beginning of the year was to have us both on the podium. She (Lucy Prakel) is amazing. She is going to demolish all my records.”
And there was just a little unfinished business at the end when Frantz didn’t clear 13-0.
“Even when you win, you don’t have to be satisfied,” she said. “I really wanted that 13 feet. I can’t wait to get back on the bar and get it. Hopefully, I can continue this momentum at Akron.”
After a day in Columbus that would be hard to top.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-3334.