GREENVILLE – Three Greenville track and field athletes are entering the state meet looking for strong finishes to their seasons.
Senior Sierra Cress in the girls discus, senior Ryan Trick in the boys pole vault, and sophomore Riley Hunt in the girls pole vault all will represent Greenville in the Division I state championships on Saturday at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus.
Trick is making a second consecutive appearance at the state meet. Last year he cleared 14 feet 4 inches and finished sixth in the state, earning a spot on the podium.
“I feel really confident going in just because I know what the atmosphere is going to be like, I know how the runway is, and I know how the competition is going to be,” the future Bethel College pole vaulter said. “It’s always a tough competition, but just having the experience there, being the second year, I think I’m going to be a little bit more confident going into the meet.”
Hunt is making her first appearance in the OHSAA state meet, but she did compete in the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches indoor state championships earlier this year and won the state championship.
“I’m pretty confident, especially having indoor,” the Lady Wave sophomore said.
Cress also is making her first trip to the OHSAA state meet. Last year she finished fifth in the regional meet and just barely missed her goal of qualifying for state.
“It’s awesome,” the senior said of finally achieving her goal. “I’ve waited four years to go, and I finally get to go this year so I’m really excited.”
Cress set a personal-best mark of 123 feet 11 inches during this year’s regional meet to qualify for state.
“Big PR,” Greenville throws coach Matt Levek said. “We hadn’t hit anywhere close to that all year, and kind of the last week before regionals she started putting things together.”
Cress is a competitor who rises to the occasion, Levek said, and he hopes she can do that once more this year.
“I’m hoping we’ve got one more week that we can get up there close to 130,” the Greenville coach said. “I think if we get close to 130, she’ll be pretty close to making the podium. That would be amazing.”
Cress wants to peak this weekend and beat Greenville’s school record of 127 feet 3 inches.
“I’m only 3, 4 feet away,” she said.
Trick also has his sights set on a school record. Kevin Leland, who won a state championship in 2009, holds Greenville’s pole vault record at 16 feet 1 inch.
“It’s been standing for nine years now,” Trick said, “and I think it needs a new name up there with it.”
Hunt hopes for a personal-best performance, which likely would put her high on the podium.
“It’s just truly a blessing to be able to have these opportunities and just be able to be an example for the younger kids,” she said.
No matter how his athletes do in Columbus, Greenville pole vault coach Micah Coblentz said they’ve already had amazing seasons.
“I just want them to feel like they’ve done their best,” Coblentz said. “And if I feel like they’ve done their best and they feel like they’ve done their best for that day then I think we’ll all be happy with where we stand at the end of the day.”
Coblentz’s athletes credited him for much of their success.
“It’s been a wild ride these past six years with Coach,” Trick said. “I’m glad I’m going to be ending it here with him at the state meet for my last meet as a Greenville pole vaulter.”
The Greenville pole vault coach is confident that the Greenville vaulters will rise to the occasion and have a strong showing this weekend.
“As I look back at the athletes that I’ve had in the past and how it’s gone throughout the year, I don’t know how I’ve gotten that lucky to get some of the vaulters that have come around,” Coblentz said. “I feel like we must be doing something right around here.”
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.