BLOOMINGTON — There was a lot to be excited about on Friday night, except you wouldn’t know it judging by the facial reactions of Churubusco’s Sam Wood.
While pole vaulter after pole vaulter got excited by yelling and pumping their fists after clearing a new height at the IHSAA Boys Track and Field State Finals at Indiana University, Wood kept a straight face and held his emotions on the inside.
“Calm, cool and relaxed,” Wood said of his style. “That’s what I try to be all the time.”
Wood finished as a state runner-up in the pole vault with a height of 15 feet, 9 inches. But after he cleared it, you wouldn’t know that it was an exciting accomplishment for the Eagle junior.
“It’s just not me,” Wood said after one of the very few times he cracked a smile on Friday. “I’m not the one to get up and make a scene if I clear a bar.”
Wood also placed 10th in long jump, leaping 22 feet, 1.75 inches. His points alone raised Churubusco to 31st overall.
Wood was seeded third in the pole vault, but was unsure of himself on where he would wind up.
“I knew I could come in here and get big bars, but I don’t know if I was quite expecting second,” Wood said. “This will just motivate me next year to try and compete for a state title.”
North Central won the boys state meet, followed by Pike, Warren Central, Brownsburg and Hamilton Southeastern. Homestead took 14th, South Side placed 12th and Snider finished 26th.
Columbia City scored five points, thanks to senior Liam Hesting.
Hesting placed fifth in discus with a toss of 167 feet, 5 inches.
Teammate Landon Wakeman placed 25th in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 4:40.23.
Churubusco’s Maggie Burita led the way for Whitley County’s girls track athletes, placing ninth in pole vault by clearing 11 feet, 6 inches.
After Burita cleared 11 feet, 6 inches, there were 10 competitors still in the field, so getting on the podium was within reach. She didn’t clear 11-9, but since she cleared 11-6, a Churubusco school record and a career-best, on her first attempt, ninth place was all hers.
“It feels really good. I’ve been working hard all year, so it’s good to finally get the medal that I wanted,” Burita said.
Burita finished in 20th at 10 feet at the state finals last year, also at the Robert C. Haugh Complex on the campus of Indiana University. But to jump up into contention for the podium, Burita had to hit the weight room in the offseason and work hard on her technique.
“Since I’m a cross country runner we really had to work on my sprinting form. That really helps sprinting down the runway, and then we put a rope in the gym also. So doing the rope drills helped with the drive-knee and keeping my legs straight,” Burita said. “All of the technique with the rope helped a lot.”
Seven of the top-10 finishers in the pole vault were underclassmen, including Burita, who is a junior. So next year’s event should be very competitive and Burita expects to be in the hunt.
“I’m excited for next year. I’m excited for jumping higher bars. Hopefully getting fifth or higher up on the podium,” Burita said.
Columbia City’s Mariah Schaefer placed 24th in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 16.3 seconds. Lillie Oddou took 27th in the 1,600-meter run with a time of 5:37.39.
North Central won the girls state meet, followed by Warren Central, Hamilton Southeastern and West Lafayette. Northrop placed sixth, Carroll 11th, Homestead 15th and Bishop Dwenger 25th.