By JEFF LAMPE
For The Weekly Post
CHARLESTON – Not much about pole vault seems easy. Running with a 10-foot pole and catapulting over a bar just doesn’t come natural. Unless you are Mya Strahm.
Six months into her pole-vaulting career, Strahm tied for second in that event Saturday at the IHSA Class 1A state track and field meet at Eastern Illinois University.
The Elmwood-Brimfield freshman also placed sixth in the 300 hurdles and was one of three E-B girls to medal during a rainy Class 1A state meet.
“She makes it look easy. It’s not easy, but she makes it look that way,” E-B Coach Kyle Anderson said. “It started with her saying she wanted to try it. Then she got a good coach and she just has a knack for it. She understands how to use her body and her hands.”
Rain in the forecast Saturday also helped, since it moved the pole vault indoors, which is where Strahm practices.
“She’s been doing this 5-6 months and the majority of her vaulting experience has been indoors,” Anderson said. “Being indoors, where she is a little more comfortable, just set her up to do what she did.”
Strahm tied with three other senior vaulters for second after clearing 11 feet, 5.75 inches. State champion Livia Binder of Maroa-Forsyth cleared 11-7.75. Farmington senior Miranda Hursey tied for ninth at 10-8.
Like most athletes who competed Saturday, though, Strahm also wound up getting wet in the day’s rainstorms. Running in the rainy finals, she finished sixth in the 300 hurdles in 47.18, just a hair behind senior teammate Elynn Peterson who was fifth in 47.12 seconds. Cambria Geyer of Tremont won in 44.43.
Peterson and Strahm had flip-flopped wins in the hurdles races all year, including Thursday in prelims when both broke school records. Peterson was first to set a new mark in 47.11, but just two heats later, Strahm rattled off a 47.1 to reset the record.
“Obviously there was a little playful competitiveness when I told them what happened,” Anderson said. “Those two have been fantastic. They are competitive, but they get along and they roomed together.”
The other Lady Trojan to medal was sophomore Etta Wagner, who placed seventh in shot put with a throw of 37-1, a personal best from the prelims which had her sixth heading into the finals. Wagner was one of two non-seniors in the top nine.
“To be one of the two underclassmen, there’s a lot to be excited about there, as well,” Anderson said.
And while E-B’s 4×100 relay did not reach the finals, the quartet of Peterson, junior Ainsley Faulkner, freshman Chloe Howerton and sophomore Emma May broke the school record with a time of 51.5 in prelims.
“It would have been nice to have a few more nice days for meets, because I think we could have done even better,” Anderson said. “But it was still a nice way to end the season.”
By JEFF LAMPE