By Rob Kiser
COLUMBUS — You couldn’t have proved it by her warmup session.
But, Versailles sophomore pole vaulter Lucy Prakel soared to new heights Saturday at the Division II state track and field meet Saturday at Jesse Owens Stadium.
”It was probably one of the worst warmups I have ever had,” Prakel said. “Then, it started to warm up a little bit. I was just blowing through poles, then I started getting deep in the pit. I knew I was fine.”
Prakel would only miss once, before going out at 12-4 and finishing third.
That included clearing 12-0 on her first attempt — a new PR.
I knew making it on first attempt was going to be big,” Prakel, who reacted by clapping her hands as she landed. “That (getting a height on her first jump) took me from eighth to sixth last year. I have been trying to get that height for a long time. I knew it would put me in the top three.”
Which has Prakel expecting big things over the next two years.
“There were a couple seniors in front of me,” she said. “So, if everything goes well and I continue to progress, yes.”
Oh What A Year
When it comes to senior seasons, it might be pretty hard to top Ellen Peters’ one at Versailles.
Peters was the setter on Versailles’ state championship volleyball team, a starter on the state runnerup basketball team and made three trips to the podium Saturday.
“To finish my senior year with a state championship, a state runnerup and third, sixth and eighth in track, I couldn’t ask any more than that,” Peters said.
Peters teamed with Liz Watren, Lindsey Winner and Kenia McEldowney for third in the 1,600 relay in 4:00.4.
“The time may not have been as fast as we had hoped to run, but I think we really did step up to the challenge,” Peters said. “Liz (Watren) mentioned it to me before the race that it was my final race. The whole lap I was thinking this is my last race, I have to give it my all. It has been an amazing career and I have to thank the community, my teammates coaches and family for all their support.”
It was also McEldowney’s final race and her first trip to the podium. She also finished 16th in the 800 2:22.22.
“I was a little nervous to be honest with you,” McEldowney said about running the anchor leg. “It felt great to be up on the podium. I didn’t have a good race in the 800, so I had to give it everything I had. It was a great way to end my career.”
For Watren, it was a second trip to the podium.
“I thought it was really cool getting on the podium twice,” she said. “I have been to state every year, but this is the first time I got on the podium twice. To finish third, I don’t think we could ask anymore than that.”
Winner knew one thing.
“The last two years, we had finished ninth,” Winner said. “That could not happen again, no way. We had to run until we collapsed if that is what it took. Everybody went out and ran their best race.”
Watren and Peters teamed with Cassie Peters and Ava Moran for sixth in the 800 relay in 1:44.77.
“I guess we saved our best for last,” Cassie Peters said with a smile. “I have been very blessed to have the career I have had. it is nice to finish my career on the podium.”
Ellen Peters and Prakel teamed with Ava and Ali Moran for eighth in the 400 relay in 49.74.
“Just getting up on the podium was a pretty good accomplishment,” Prakel said. “I think we made finals by .005 seconds or something like that.”
Ava and Ali Moran are sisters, with Ava being a sophomore and Ali a freshman. Ali runs the third leg and hands off to Ava.
“It is something we used to joke about last year when I made it over here as a freshman,” Ava Moran said. “It is really pretty cool. To take a handoff from your sister at state. Not many people get to do that.”
Ali Moran agreed.
“Like she (Ava Moran) said, it is really cool to be able to run a relay with my sister at state,” To get on the podium was the big goal. It was exciting to run at state.”
Maybe most impressive was Ava Moran running a strong anchor leg after being sick minutes earlier after running in the 800 relay.
“I am a different Ava when I have a baton in my hand,” she said. “I wasn’t sure if we got eighth when we finished, I was looking at the screen (with the times and places on it) immediately.”
And as always, Versailles was up to the challenge.
Rob Kiser is Sports Editor for the Daily Call. He can be reached at (937) 451-334.