By Rob Kiser
and Josh Brown
It seemed only fitting that Miami East and Versailles pole vaulters Blaine Brokschmidt and Luke Shellhaas would finish 1-2 in the pole vault,
And that Shellhaas, like Versailles long jumper Kyle Jones would make the most of a final opportunity toget to state.
“He (Blaine Brokschmidt) are good friends,” Shellhaas said. “We vault against each other all the time, even indoors. It is a lot of fun competing against each other.”
Brokschmidt cleared 15-0 to win.
The Miami East junior, who qualified for state last season and placed eighth there in Division III, was not slowed down by the Vikings’ climb to Division II this season, claiming his first regional championship — and East’s boys’ first as a D-II team.
“It feels pretty good, but I am a little tired,” Brokschmidt said. “I had at least 12 jumps today, and the worst part is that the sun is right behind the pit, so you don’t know where the box is. You kind of just have to run down there and trust yourself.”
That may have affected Brokschmidt’s first attempt of the day at 13-0, as he didn’t come close to getting over the bar. But once that was out of the way, he looked smooth the rest of the day on his way to victory.
It was a big step up from last season, where he cleared 13-10 at the D-III regional to qualify for state and then cleared the same height to get eighth place at the state meet.
“I made 13-10 at regionals last year,” he said. “I had a 14-0 vault at the conference meet, and we were going in confident, but I barely made it into state — I was fourth place on misses. I went there and jumped 13-10 … but this indoor season was huge. We have a pit up at our old gym that we jump at, and going in there and going to indoor meets this year, I started jumping big. I jumped 14-6 at Ohio State a couple times and won a couple meets.”
But once outdoor season — and this spring’s atypically cold weather — hit, it was hard to keep improving.
“In the early season, it was just rough,” Brokschmidt said. “I think my first meet was 12-6, and we had five meets cancelled. It was terrible. I really didn’t start jumping well until about two weeks before conference. I jumped the school record at 14-6.5, then we blew up at conference. I jumped 14-9 and set the conference record, won the meet, and at the time it was the top jump in the state for D-II.”
Now Brokschmidt will prepare for another state meet, looking to improve yet again.
Shellhaas cleared 14-8 to finish second in the pole vault and earn a state berth as a senior.
“Everything seemed to come together this year and I am going to state,” Shellhaas said.
Shellhaas, who had vaulted at Piqua last week at district, was confident from the start.
He was clean through 14-feet.
He got 14-4 on his second attempt and got 14-8 on this third attempt, before missing at 15-0.
“I was feeling really good,” he said. “I knew I was going to make it to state. I got the school record tonight. That (15 feet) is the goal for state next week.”
Jones may not have been expected to make it to state — but he knew it was his last shot.
“I am a senior, you have to leave it all out there,” Jones said.
He wasted no time doing that.
His opening jump of 21-4 1-2 would get him fourth-place and the state berth.
“I knew it was pretty good,” Jones said. “Everything just came together.”
Then he had to sweat out the prelims and three jumps in the finals to see if that jump would be good enough to get him to state.
“That was tough,” he said. “It feels pretty good to be going to state.”
Versailles is well positioned in a number of events for Saturday’s finals.
For the girls, Dana Rose has the second fastest time in the 100 hurdles, 15.88; while Ellen Peters has the fourth fastest time in the 300 hurdles, 47.09.
The 1,600 relay (Liz Watren, Lindsey Winner, Kenia McEldowney, Ellen Peters) has the fastest time, 3:59.69; the 800 relay (Ellen Peters,Watren, Ava Moran, Cassie Peters) has the third fastest time, 1:45.49; and the 400 relay (Lucy Prakel, Ellen Peters, Ali Moran, Ava Moran) has the fourth fastest time, 50.65.
For the boys, Josh Steinbrunner has the third fastest time in the 110 hurdles, 14.63; and the fourth fastest time in the 300 hurdles, 39,82,
The Miami East foursome of Daniel Baker, Dalton Taynor, Colton Weldy and Brokschmidt have the seventh fastest time in the 400 relay, 44.11; and eighth fastest time in the 800 relay, 1:32.30.
In the 1,600 relay, Weldy, Baker, Taton Bertsch and Taynor have the seventh fastest time, 3:21.0.