Pole vault will be one of the main events Friday at the Buckeye Tune Up, a 22-team meet featuring schools from all three divisions along with some unattached athletes who compete in the meet, but are not affiliated with a team during the competition.
Ohio State is having a historic year in both men’s and women’s pole vault. Senior Cole Gorski set the men’s program record at 5.47 meters this season and senior Madison Roberts set the women’s program record at four meters. Along with the record holders, junior Coty Cobb is third all-time at Ohio State and sophomore Megan Hoffman is also third all-time for the Buckeyes.
“They are aggressive, they are competitive, and they are humble and are willing to take criticism,” pole vault coach Rob Banhagel said.
The meet will feature Cincinnati, which also has two indoor pole vault program record holders in seniors Adrian Valles and Brooke Catherine.
Valles and Gorski will meet again for the second straight matchup in the friendly rivalry. The two competed against one another in the Music City Challenge, with Gorski finishing ahead of Valles.
“Him and I enjoy jumping against each other because we really push each other to that next height,” Gorski said.
Cobb has a chance to qualify for the national championships this weekend, with the bar reaching 5.41 meters during the event. Cobb’s current personal record is 5.35 meters, currently 22nd in the country. He only has two chances remaining to qualify for the national championship.
“I do believe that this is the meet that this happens for me,” Cobb said.
Banhagel said given how deep the team is into the season, training is not as intense. He added that right now the team is not continuing to build from where it is, but rather just trying to stay at its current level.
“We’re not lifting to build. We are lifting to maintain,” Banhagel said.
Gorski, like many members of the team, has focused on individual work, including how to move his body through the air to clear the bar. His practice has included working with bigger poles and improving his running technique to influence his body movement in air.
Along with the competition faced in the meet, this will be Gorski’s last chance this season to earn the French Field House record, which was set in 1988 by Illinois’ Dean Starkey at 5.53 meters.
“It’s time for that record to finally come down,” Banhagel said.
Ohio State’s Roberts and Hoffman will face Catherine and Austin Peay’s junior Savannah Amato in a rematch of last week’s Music City Challenge.
Catherine placed the highest out of the four in Nashville, claiming third place with a jump of 4.26 meters. Roberts, Hoffman and Amato all finished at the same mark of 3.92. Of the three, Amato has the highest personal record.
This matchup also includes a friendly rivalry between Amato and Hoffman. They jumped together in the summers before Hoffman came to Ohio State.
When the pair are on the track, the focus is solely on the competition. Getting into the competition mentality was the main focus for Hoffman coming into the meet.
For Roberts, this meet is all about being consistent and trying to make the marks to qualify for the national championships. The qualifying mark is currently at 4.26 and is held by Catherine.
“We might not be a pole vault school, but we are certainly becoming one,” coach Richard Ebin said.