PITSBURG – A year after just barely missing her goal of qualifying for the state track and field meet, Franklin Monroe sophomore Selene Weaver is seeing her dreams come true.
The Franklin Monroe sophomore qualified for the Ohio High School Athletic Association state track and field meet in the Division III girls pole vault. Not only did she qualify, she cleared 11 feet 4 inches and won Southwest Ohio’s regional championship in the process.
“I think making it to state is a huge accomplishment because I was fifth last year, and I was so close,” Weaver said. “Not getting it last year and being able to work so much on my form and technique and I put a lot of dedication into this year because that was one of my main goals. And the fact that I not only got into state but I won the region, which was awesome and I wasn’t expecting that I would do that. It’s very awesome to be able to participate in such an amazing event.”
Qualifying for the OHSAA state meet is just a continuation of what’s already been a fantastic sophomore season. In March she made the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches indoor state championships and finished ninth in the state.
The experience of competing at the indoor state championships should be beneficial, she said, but she expects a new set of challenges when she competes at 1 p.m. Friday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus.
“It will definitely be a different environment going into the outdoor than indoor because in indoor you don’t have those factors of weather and you know what’s going to happen,” Weaver said.
Weaver already has overcome some obstacles to become one of the state’s top vaulters. She regularly trains at Steve Shellhaas’ barn near Ansonia or at Greenville High School with Green Wave pole vault coach Micah Coblentz, as she did Wednesday afternoon in preparation for this week’s state meet.
“It’s really nice, especially having Coach Coblentz because we don’t really have a (pole vault) coach (at Franklin Monroe),” Weaver said. “My mom kind of is the coach for Franklin Monroe, but we don’t practice as much at Franklin Monroe than we do in Greenville.”
She’s the only Franklin Monroe athlete competing at state this week, but Weaver has lots of company with several local pole vaulters advancing to state.
“It’s more like a family at this point,” Weaver said. “We’re all supporting each other, and it’s been a great ride with them.”
Coblentz has two Greenville pole vaulters going to state along with vaulters from Ansonia, Franklin Monroe and Versailles who he’s helped coached. He’s enjoyed working with Weaver and having her around his program.
“She is a great girl,” Coblentz said. “I’ve really enjoyed working with Selene. We get to work together at the barn, and there’s times she’ll come over for practice during outdoor. She’s come a long way this year, and she just keeps improving on little things. There’s still things she can work on, and the best thing is she’s only a sophomore just like (Greenville’s) Riley (Hunt) is, and we have time to really work on the things that she needs to work on, and she’s already at a pretty good level at what’s she’s doing right now.”
Weaver has cleared 11 feet 9 inches this season and at 11 feet 4 inches had the fourth best vault statewide at last week’s Division III regional meets. That has her hoping for a strong showing at the state competition.
“I would love to podium, but we’ll see how it goes,” Weaver said. “I think I can, but you never know what’s going to happen because it is the state meet and a lot of people do really well at state and a lot of people don’t do very well. So I guess we’ll see.”
Coblentz sees a lot of potential for Weaver to continue improving the next couple years and hopes she shows some of that potential this week in Columbus.
“She’s vaulting very well now, and I just want to see her again do her best there at the state meet, and I think she’ll be happy with where she ends up if she does,” he said.
Kyle Shaner may be reached at 937-569-4312. Follow me on Twitter @KShanerAdvocate or get updates on Facebook by searching Darke County Sports or Advocate 360. For more features online go to dailyadvocate.com.