Prep track: Gardner, Garrett headed to state

NEW CONCORD – Warren’s Raelyn Gardner and Morgan’s Baylee Garrett each enjoyed the flight over the weekend.

The 4-foot-11 Gardner, with a brace on her left knee, soared 11 feet, 3 inches over the bar in the pole vault event in last Saturday’s Ohio Division 2, Region 7 track meet at Muskingum University. The senior standout holds the Lady Warrior standard in the PV of 11-6, set at the Southeastern Ohio Athletic League (SEOAL) meet at Gallia Academy May 13.

With a first-place finish in the PV, Gardner will be advancing for the second straight year to the OHSAA State Track & Field Championships at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of Ohio State University in Columbus Friday and Saturday. Last spring, she earned All-Ohio honors with an 11-foot pole vault, which was good for a tie for eighth-place.

Only the top 8 thinclads in each event at state get to medal and stand on the podium.

“I want to give all the credit to our pole vault coach Pat Wigal,” said Warren girls head coach Sally Maddox. “He’s just done a tremendous job with Raelyn and all of our pole vaulters.”

At state, Gardner is scheduled to compete in the pole vault Saturday at 9 a.m. She will warm up at a height of 8-6.

The state D2 girls record in the pole vault is 13-01, set by Bryan’s Alyssa McBride in 2012.

“Raelyn is experienced and knows what state is like,” Maddox said. “Her (injured) knee hasn’t slowed her down at all this season, and we’re hoping for the best at state. She has a lot of desire, guts, and courage.”

In regional competition, Gardner also earned her team a point with an eighth-place finish in the 100 meter dash. She covered it in a clocking of 13.14.

Also, at MU, Gardner was a leg on Warren’s 4 by 200 meter relay, which placed 14th in a time of 1:53.61. Also in the relay were Katie Rauch, Julia Hamrick, and Natalie O’Dell.

Garrett punched her ticket to state when she cleared the bar at 4-10 in the high jump. That was good for a fourth-place regional finish.

A senior, Garrett also finished seventh in the 800 in 2:22.78, and was the anchor on the eighth-place 4 by 800 Lady Raiders’ relay team, which also included Jasmine Penrod, Jordan Penrod, and Cheyenne Hanson.

At state, Garrett is slated to high jump Friday at 9:30 a.m. She will warm up at 4-4.

The state D2 girls standard in the HJ is 5-10-1/4, set by Columbus Bexley’s Dana Sterns in 1995.