By Rob Kiser
and David Fong
COLUMBUS — Covington sophomore Jett Murphy wasn’t sure how fast he would recover from a knee injury suffered during his freshman season.
Safe to say, he exceeded those expectations, finishing fourth in the Division III pole vault at the state track and field meet at Jesse Owens Stadium.
“I wasn’t sure I would be able to do all this, this quickly,” Murphy said after clearing 14-4 and breaking Jon Sampson’s school record. Murphy had tied the record at district and regional before breaking it Friday.
“I was able to break the school record,” Murphy said. “To do it at the state meet, that felt really good.”
That left Murphy as one of five vaulters left at 14-8.
Colin Etchen of Edgerton was the only vaulter to clear that height. With Murphy, Ryan Stevens of Newcomserstown, Cory Depinet of Attica Seneca East and Michael Kochenderfer of Ashland Crestview all going out at that height.
Etchen went 15-6 to win the title. Because of misses, Murphy finished fourth. Depinet and Kochenderfer tied for second and Stevens finished fifth.
He had made it through 14-0 clean, again matching Sampson’s record.
“That was a big goal coming in (getting to 14-4 with no misses),” Murphy said. “The atmosphere over here is a lot different, but it is just something you have to adjust to.”
After missing 14-4 on his first attempt, Murphy sailed over the bar with plenty to spare on his second attempt.
“I knew I was going to get it,” Murphy said. “I didn’t expect to make it by that much. But I knew I could do it.”
When he took his third attempt at 14-8, the other three had already gone out, meaning if he made it, he would finish in the top two. And he was close.
“I was thinking about that (two guys left),” Murphy said. “But, I came over here, finished fourth and got a school record. I definitely want to get 15 feet next year and a state championship is a big goal. We will just see how things go.”
Murphy has set the bar high after his performance Friday.
* Kinnison 13th: After a close call last week at the Division III regional meet, Megan Kinnison was happy just to be in Columbus Saturday.
“I don’t know what I would have done if I hadn’t made it here,” said the Miami East senior, who placed 13th in the discus Friday with a throw of 120-11. “I would have been really upset. After making it here last year, I really wanted to come back again this year.”
It almost didn’t happen. Last week at regionals, Kinnison fouled on her first two attempts, then made it to the finals on what could have been the last throw of her high school career. In the finals, she was able to nab the fourth and final spot to earn her a return trip to Columbus.
After such a harrowing experience at regionals, Kinnison said she was able to relax and enjoy the state experience. Her first throw of the day ended up being her best throw. She was in eighth place heading into the second flight, then saw enough throwers pass her to push her out of a spot in the finals.
Again, though, Kinnison was happy just to have the chance to end her career at state.
“I’m happy with how I did,” she said. “I wanted to get back here and I did. That was my goal and I was able to do that. I felt like I threw pretty well (Friday).”
* Everett places 16th: Miami East senior Daniel Everett didn’t have the day he was hoping for, but he can take solace in the fact he finished his season — and his Viking career — as one of the top Division III discus throwers in the state of Ohio.
Everett fouled on his three attempts in the discus. He finished in 16th place.
It was Everett’s first trip to the state meet.
* Seasons end in prelims: Covington’s Cade Harshbarger, Breanna Kimmel and the 4×400 relay team of Zane Barnes, Brandon Magee, Jayce Pond and Nathan Lyle all saw their seasons end in the preliminary round at the Division III state track and field meet Friday in Columbus.
The boys 4×400 relay team of Barnes, Magee, Pond and Lyle finished 14th with a time of 3:30.72. Harshbarger, who qualified for state in a pair of events, finished 14th in the 300 hurdles (41.34 seconds) and 15th in the 110 hurdles (15.83 seconds). And in the girls 100, Kimmel finished 16th (13.04 seconds).