COLUMBUS — Northmont senior Christian Champen has a lot to celebrate. He set a personal best and a new school record in the pole vault at the state finals Saturday in Columbus clearing 16-feet, 4-inches to place 2nd overall. Lucas Kelley of Massillon Perry won the event by clearing 16-feet, 8-inches. He also won the state pole vault in 2014.
Champen represented himself and his school well. As only one of 16 state qualifiers a second place finish is a great accomplishment.
“I’m pretty happy about being second place. I couldn’t ask for a better meet,” Champen said. “There was supposed to be thunder storms today so we got pretty lucky with this nice weather and then having a personal record and peaking at state is even better, so I’m pretty content with what happened today.”
The bad weather held off until about 5:45 p.m. when the meet experienced a lightning delay. The weather for the pole vault was overcast skies with partial sun and high humidity, but the participants in the pole vault didn’t seem to mind at all.
“I felt great coming in,” Champen added. “The last week we’ve been training for all the bad conditions that might happen like head winds or rain. We’ve been training early mornings and we’ve been vaulting at this time, so I think I was well prepared for today.”
The competition was stiff indeed in the Division I pole vault. Robbie Oswald of Cincinnati Elder who won the regional last week with a personal record of 16-feet, 9-inches, ended up placing third at state with a vault of 16-feet. Matt Peare of North Canton Hoover, last year’s state champion at 16-feet, 4-inches, placed fourth this year at 15-feet, 8-inches. Danny Malkowski of Wadsworth placed fifth at 15-feet, 4-inches, Mitchell Kubicki of Toledo Whitmer was sixth at 15-feet. Billy Rook of Mason was seventh at 14-feet, 6-inches and Kyle Brookshire of Lewis Center Olentangy took the last podium spot in eighth place at 14-feet, 6-inches.
“To have made it to state as a sophomore and then last year as a junior didn’t make it out of regional and then to come back to state this year and set a personal record of 16-feet, 4-inches, his highest jump in meet competition this year, and to get second… you can’t get much better. It’s a great day.” said Northmont Pole Vault Coach Steve Heinrichs.