COLUMBUS — Sometimes skill — and not practice — makes perfect.
The high jump was almost an afterthought event for Celina’s Michaela Wenning for much of the season. A standout hurdler, Wenning only practiced the event three times outdoors this spring.
“One of the times was this week,” Wenning said.
The Celina junior just happens to be the best girls high jumper in Division II.
Wenning cleared five feet, five inches to tie a personal record and won the jump-off against Indian Hill’s Christine Canning to capture the D-II state title on Friday morning at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Wenning didn’t miss a jump through the five foot, five inch height. That gave her an inkling that something big was in the making.
“I didn’t really feel any pressure. I had nothing to lose. It’s my first time here,” Wenning said. “I really just wanted to get on the podium and I had two other events I was focusing on, too. I didn’t think this was my best chance and I’m just so happy to get my PR and win.”
Wapakoneta’s Megan Hayzlett finished fourth and jumped five feet, three inches to cap her standout senior season.
After clearing the winning height, Wenning pumped her fist and smiled, giving her coach a hug. Afterwards she seemed almost stunned to be standing atop the podium.
“I was jumping terrible just a couple of days ago because I’ve had shin splints,” Wenning said. “I couldn’t make five foot a few days ago.”
But the high jump being her first event of the day gave her an energy boost that carried her to the state title.
“I’ve been high-jumping since junior high but I didn’t compete at the district tournament as a freshman and last year I competed, but I was in the 4-by-800 relay before I had to jump so I only made five-two,” Wenning said. “This year I was able to jump fresher because I was only in the hurdles and didn’t have to run them before the high jump. I was really fresh and ready to go.”
And the Celina three-sport standout has another season to add to her newly-gained hardware.
“I’ve got two more sports to go through first, but I’m really excited for next year,” Wenning said.
Heitkamp vaults at 9 a.m. — St. Marys Memorial senior Kelly Heitkamp will compete in the Division II pole vault on Saturday at 9 a.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium. This is her second straight trip to state in the event.