Fong takes second in pole vault at state indoor meet; Troy has strong showing


GENEVA – She had been waiting for the moment for so long that when it finally arrived, it was difficult for Sophie Fong to know how to react.

“It was honestly difficult to process all of my emotions throughout the meet,” said Fong, a senior pole vaulter at Troy High School who recently competed in the Ohio Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Indoor State Meet at the Spire Academy in Geneva. “My goal coming into the competition was to place in the top eight and earn a spot on the podium. I knew that I had made it onto the podium about halfway through the meet, but I had to push aside all of my joy because I knew that I wasn’t done vaulting and I didn’t want to get complacent just because I had made the podium.”

Fong would end up clearing 12-3, good for second place in the state in the final indoor meet of the year. Massillon Perry’s Kendal Fisher won the event with a vault of 12-6.

“After clearing my last bar of the day, I knew that I was going to place in the top three and I could hardly believe it,” Fong said. “When I was finally done vaulting, I remember running over to my parents and my coaches and seeing the joy on their faces is what helped everything sink in. It was so surreal that all of the work that I have put in this winter paid off, and the results were better than anything I could have hoped for. I am so grateful that I have a group of coaches that are so dedicated to helping me progress, and parents that continue to support me through my journey. I am going to continue working, and I am excited to see what outdoor season has in store.

For Fong, it was a journey that began eight years ago when she was in the fourth grade, when Troy track and field pole vault coach Herb Hartman and local vaulting coach Roger Bowen saw her practicing gymnastics and convinced her to give pole vaulting a try. She’s been vaulting ever since.

“Pole vault is one of the events where if one little thing isn’t working well, it is difficult to fix during a competition,” Troy girls track and field coach Kurt Snyder said. “Sophie battled some issues early on that she was able to correct with her coaches and showed her resiliency and determination to overcome the tough competition. To be able to be state runner-up is a huge accomplishment and should give her great confidence going into her final outdoor season. She has been working on this event for so long it was a highlight for me to be able to be there and see that smile on her face and how much it meant to Coach Hartman as well.”

Fong was one of four Troy girls and one Troy boy to compete at the state indoor meet. For the girls, high jumper Kaylee Ludy and triple jumpers Hannah Duff and Brooke Craft qualified for state. For the Troy boys, pole vaulter Ethan Martin was a state qualifier.

Ludy placed 16th with a jump for 4-10.

“Kaylee Ludy has come a long way in only her second season competing in the high jump,” Snyder said. “To finish 16th in the state with limited practice opportunities and in a fairly new event shows how great of an athlete and competitor she is. She is way ahead of where she was at this point last year and we are excited for what she can accomplish this spring.”

In the triple jump, Duff placed 16th with a jump of 29-5, while Craft was 21st with a jump of 27-5.

“Hannah Duff and Brooke Craft competed in an event that isn’t widely available to high school athletes,” Snyder said. “The triple jump is not an easy event to learn and excel in and for these girls to make and compete well in the indoor state meet will serve as great experience for them. Both athletes performed better this indoor season than they did last spring, so it is a good sign for what they will be able to do during outdoor season.”

For the boys, Martin placed 18th with a vault of 12-6.

“Ethan has worked incredibly hard and made huge strides this winter,” Troy boys coach Deon Metz said. “He’s still pretty new to pole vaulting, and getting the chance to compete at state was a great opportunity for him. We are looking forward to him carrying that over to outdoor season.”

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