Photo credit/Stephanie Schweller Paulding High School Panther’s, Claire Schweller, sails over the bar. Schweller competed at the Ohio State High School Track Meet in the pole vault event.

PICKERINGTON - The quest to get on the podium at the state track meet will have to wait for Claire Schweller. The Paulding junior placed 10th in the pole vault, falling two spots away from placing at the Division II state meet at Pickerington North on Saturday..

“This is not the place I hoped to get because I wanted to stand on the podium, but at least I made it to state,” explained Schweller, who also participated in the event as a freshman at the 2019 state meet.

After passing at 9-0, Schweller started her day with a costly miss at 10-0 before clearing the bar on her second attempt. Schweller missed at 10-6 before success on her following try, but then missed on all three attempts at 11-0 to place 10th.

Alex Rickenbacher of Liberty-Benton won with a height of 12-6 with Kelsey Hartsock of Riverview second with the same height. Tru Buddenberg of Greenon was third with 11-10 followed by Emily Thompson of St. Clairsville and Julia Sabo of Eastwood at 11-6. Peyton Proffitt of Westfall took the final spot on the podium in eighth place with the same 10-6 height of Schweller, but only had three misses. Alyssa Weitzel of New Richmond was ninth with 10-6 and four misses.

“Watching Claire perform was special,” related Paulding head coach Kim Bickford. “Seeing all her work pay off in order to get her to state was gratifying. I know she would have liked to have had better results, but overall I think she did a very good job.

“One thing I can hope that comes from this for her is that it makes her even hungrier to compete next year and knowing her and how she is as an athlete, it definitely will. She’s the kind of athlete where she gives it her all no matter if it’s a meet or if it’s just practice. With that kind of work ethic, I’m hoping that the other athletes can use her as an example to work hard and maybe they can also go further.

“Strong programs all start with that little success and they build off of that, so I’m hoping with her performance, and a lot of our other athletes’ performances this year, that we can start to build our program up and have even more success as the years go by.”

Schweller certainly is planning on being a major part of the success to come in 2022.

“This coming track season I hope to work more in the off-season so that I can stand on the podium next year,” Schweller said. “My goal is to get 12-6 and be in the top three at state. I know this will take a lot of effort and time, but I feel that I can accomplish it.”