Thursday, May 3, 2012

Villanova Vaulter Alex Wasik Inspires Medina Athlete

Medina boys and girls track sweeps NOC dual meet

MEDINA, Ohio – The 2011 OHSAA Division I state pole vault champion, Alex Wasik’s impact on the Medina girls track & field team was much more than a first place at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.

The Villanova University freshman mentored and inspired future Medina track athletes, including junior Jenna D’Errico.

“I always looked up to her,” said D’Errico, who cleared 10-6 in pole vault to win first place during a home dual meet against Strongsville on Tuesday. “She’s been a role model for me. I miss having her this year.”

Wasik (pictured below), who edged Cloverleaf’s Jennifer Foster for the OHSAA crown with a vault of 12-2, has cleared a personal best of 3.90 meters (12 feet, 9.54 inches) at Villanova.

“I’ve been trying to meet her PRs,” D’Errico said. “She always gave me good advice and was really supportive.”

Thanks in large measure to Wasik, and three-time state high jump champion Taylor Burke (now at the University of Florida), the Bees scored 29 points at last year's state track & field meet and tied for fourth place in the team standings.

Like Wasik, D’Errico (below) was a gymnast, taking lessons from age 7 to 15, and beginning track in seventh grade. Her personal best is 11 feet.

“My plant, that’s my bad habit right now. I have to get my left arm out and just get it into muscle memory,” D’Errico said.

A district competitor last year, she has her sights set on the state meet this year.

“I learned (last year) that the best thing is to just relax,” she said. “You think in practice and at the meet you just do what you’ve been working on.”

The Medina girls overwhelmed Strongsville, while the Bees defeated the Mustangs boys team 76-57.

Walter Bailey won three individual boys events (110 hurdles, 100 dash, long jump) for Medina. Bailey was clocked at 14.3 in the hurdles, 10.7 in the 100 and reached 21-1 in long jump.

The Bees won 13 of 17 events.

The boys pole vault was the competition of the meet. Strongsville’s Matt Stefano and Bryce Blake each cleared 13-0 to finish 1-2 in that order, while Medina sophomore Kyle Hutchinson also scaled 13-0, but had to settle for third.

“I was so close to 13-6,” Hutchinson said. “Really close. But that was a good meet. That was fun.”

To have the meet’s top-three finishers go for a combined total of 39 feet is great competition, said Medina boys coach Bob Jenkins.

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