Ethan Staley

Clear Fork's Ethan Staley attempts to clear 15 feet in the pole vault competition during the opening day of the Division II regional meet at Lexington High School. Staley took fourth in the event at the state track and field tournament Friday at Pickerington North's Panther Stadium.

PICKERINGTON — He didn’t vault as high as he had hoped, but Clear Fork’s Ethan Staley soared further up the podium.

Staley finished fourth in the pole vault competition at the Division II state track and field tournament at Pickerington North’s Panther Stadium. The junior cleared 14-feet, 6-inches, two inches lower than his qualifying effort last week at the Lexington regional and six inches lower than his target.

“Fifteen foot has been my goal all year,” Staley said after finishing second at the Lex regional.

Nonetheless, Staley’s fourth-place finish was four spots better than his effort as a freshman, when he cleared 14-2 to finish eighth. Ontario’s Brennan Strickler also competed in the pole vault competition, tying for 16th with a vault of 13-0.

Staley’s performance was one of the highlights on opening day in Picerkington.

Galion’s Samantha Comer and Shelby’s Kassie Stine finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the high jump. Both Comer and Stine cleared 5-3.

Shelby’s Connor Henkel placed 15th in the long jump with a leap of 20-7.75.

The only running finals Friday were in the girls and boys 4x800 relays. The finals of the other running events and the remaining field events will be Saturday.

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I have covered high school sports in Richland County since 2000. Email him at curt@richlandsource.com or follow him on Twitter: Follow @curtjconrad on twitter.

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