Pole vaulters heading for Columbus

·3 min read

May 29—AUSTINTOWN — Gymnastics was the original connection between Geneva's Gabbi Selman and Jefferson's Megan Brand, but the two will always be tied together now as 2022 state track qualifiers after the Division II regional track meet on Saturday at Austintown Fitch High School.

The two friends hugged after Brand clinched a spot at the Ohio High School Athletic Association Track and Field Championships next week in Columbus.

Selman defended her pole vault regional title from 2021 with a leap of 10-8 beating her all time best by two inches after Brand clinched third place with a vault of 9-8 also besting her best jump of this year by two inches. Brand vaulted 9-9 last year.

"I am so excited, I'm super excited," Brand said while grinning form ear to ear. She has been involved in gymnastics for 16 years and in junior high decided it would be fun to pole vault.

T.J. Furman, the Jefferson boys head track coach, also works with Brand. He said he has been working with the pole vaulters for 12 years, but said longtime Edgewood coach Debbie Fazenbaker has been a big part of his growth as a pole vault coach.

Jefferson girls head track coach Dave Wright said Brand is one of those athletes who belongs at the state track meet.

"We are all so elated. We expected her to qualify," he said.

Wright said Brand is in"school-record territory." He said the present pole vault record is 10-0.

Selman was also excited to defend her regional pole vault title and the experience was a little easier than last year because she had already won the competition in 2021.

Geneva head girls track coach Jason Dalton said he is very excited for Selman.

Geneva pole vault coach John Matune said Selman is a great leader and provides a good example for the other girls. "She's awesome," Matune said.

Matune said it was no surprise that the girls from two different schools were excited for each other.

"That is the great thing about the pole vault. It is a family," he said.

Selman is also a student of her craft.

"Most of the time before she looks at the video she knows what she did wrong," he said.

Dalton said he is excited about his team that features a large contingent of talented sophomores, including Delaney Marrison who narrowly missed a trip to Columbus finishing sixth in the long jump with a leap of 15-10 1/2.

"We are only two months into her trying long jump. She has a couple of years (to improve)," Dalton said.

Geneva's Mya Evangelista finished ninth in the 1600 with a time of 5:21 and Eagle teammate Grace Dubsky finished ninth in the 3200 run with a time of 12:11.

Edgewood's Tammy Liplin finished eighth in the 3200 with a time of 12:05 and Warrior teammate Maddie Crooks finished 10th in the 1600 with a time of 5:24.

Edgweood's Sarah Coxon also finished 9th in the discus competition with a throw of 111'9".

Conneaut's Isabella Fix finished 11th in the long jump with a leap of 14-9 and Geneva's Makenna Ferrante finished 13th with a jump of 14-7.

In the boys competition, Grand Valley's Robert Rogers, a sophomore, finished tied for 14th in the high jump with a leap of 5-10 and Jefferson's Wade Woodworth finished 12th in the shot put competition with a throw of 45-3 1/2.