Big Walnut senior Ellie Jindra and sophomore Abe Myers represented themselves and their school quite well Saturday, nabbing top-10 finishes during the Division I State Track & Field Championships at OSU’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
Jindra, who knew next to nothing about the high jump a few short months ago, finished tied for ninth in state after clearing 5-04.
“We are so proud of Ellie,” Big Walnut girls track and field coach Joe Evener said. “As a senior, she came out in March, never having ran track before — never high jumping before — and put in the time and effort to learn the event, and get better every week whether it be in jumping higher, being more confident or learning a little more about what it takes to be among the best.”
She was among the best Saturday, clearing the opening height of 5-0 and then 5-02 without any issues. She missed her first two attempts at 5-04, but cleared the height on her third try to ensure her spot in the top 10.
“Coach Mike Ryder did a fabulous job bringing her along slowly, and learning to adjust to her strengths and weaknesses,” Evener said. “In a short three-month period, she went from not knowing anything about the event of high jump, or the sport of track and field, to being district runner-up, regional champion, school record-holder and state qualifier. Along the way she was also named Third Team All-County, First Team All-OCC, First Team All-District and Academic All-Ohio.”
Not only was she inexperienced, but she finished ninth in the state while dealing with a fair amount of pain.
“I’m so proud of Ellie,” Ryder said. “She jumped in incredible pain at the state meet dealing with a ligament tear in her back. She had to have multiple injections done deep in her pelvis four different days before the meet just so she could compete. I’ve never seen an athlete give up so much to represent her school and community and I’m blessed to have been her coach.”
Strongsville’s Cassie Martin won the event by clearing 5-07.
Myers, meanwhile, reached the podium thanks to an eighth-place performance (161-11) in the discus.
He started strong, with his first throw of the competition (158-10) proving to be his second-best toss of the entire day. His best came on his fifth attempt.
Reynoldsburg’s Mark Gooden won the event with a throw of 189-03.
Follow Ben Stroup on Twitter @delgazette_ben.