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Perry's Addy Trefzger eyes third state berth as girls pole vault numbers locally usher concern

Apr. 15—Winds of change can and will be prevalent in pole vault.

How that persistence is navigated matters — and Addy Trefzger is doing her utmost to contribute her part in that regard.

The Perry junior cleared 10 feet April 13 in her home facility during the Perry Relays, leading the Pirates to a pole vault relay title as they captured the B Division team crown. Considering the winds were so blustery event workers had to hold the bar in place from the sides of the standard right up until vaulters elevated in their attempt to clear, a 10-0 was a job well done.

Trefzger is a seasoned pro at this point and handled the additional degree of difficulty with precision.

"Today, we got really lucky with a tailwind," Trefzger said. "The difficulty just kind of ranges with me being able to gauge on the runway if the wind was picking up or slowing down so I could adjust my steps based on that. But I felt pretty good. It's the first time I've hit 10 this season in outdoor, so I was happy about that."

She is the fourth News-Herald coverage area girls pole vault to clear 10 this spring thus far, along with Mentor's Addison Lyles (10-9), Riverside's Gigi DeMarco and Chardon's Abigail Whitehead (both 10-0).

"It's very important (to get 10 by mid-April)," Trefzger said. "I was very happy about it, because I've not gotten 10 this early. And I've been working really hard in the offseason, so it pays off. But I'm really happy about it, and I think it takes some of the stress off for later on in the season. And it gives me a better place to start and work up from there.

"I really worked on my plant this year. I got my plant pretty solid. I just need to start working on the top end of the pole now. But it's just nice knowing I have a consistent plant that's always going to get me in the air."

Like many observers in the track and field community, Trefzger notices and is concerned about the numbers and, in turn, general state of pole vault, though. At Perry over the weekend, for example, even with two divisions and 13 schools that scored on the girls side, there were only 12 girls pole vaulters combined.

The days, even within the last decade, of frequent clearances of 11-plus have seemingly decreased as well. Former Geneva standout Deidra Marrison holds The News-Herald coverage area record in girls pole vault of 13-1 1/2, set in 2017.

"I'm not sure," Trefzger said of the reasons for the dropoff in numbers. "I think people are definitely intimidated about doing it, because it's running with a big pole and jumping over something. (laughs) It's definitely not the easiest. But yeah, I've noticed it a lot recently.

"We had 12 vaulters today. A lot of them are new, which gives me hope for what's coming. And I know during practices, we have a big group of middle schoolers here practicing vault, boys and girls."

It's enough to warrant belief no event suffered from a development and numbers standpoint emerging from the novel coronavirus pandemic more than pole vault.

"It sure really seems like it," Trefzger said. "Because it's one thing to go out and run during a pandemic, which I know a lot of people picked up. It's a different thing to go out — you can't just go out and pole vault. So I think that's definitely why."

All of it makes what Trefzger has accomplished to date in her career even more laudable.

All-time among News-Herald coverage area schools, combined boys and girls, there have been 254 state qualifications in pole vault.

Trefzger is aiming for her third Division II pole vault state berth this spring. As a two-time qualifier, she is already one of 15 coverage area girls pole vaulters in history to make it to state at least twice. Five of those 15 — Chagrin Falls' Kim Keesler, Geneva's Ally Thompson and Marrison and Perry's Kelly Chandler and Kristen Olds — made it three times.

None have made it four times, so Trefzger in turn has a shot at that rarified air, too, over this spring and next.

Winds of change can and will be prevalent in pole vault.

Trefzger hopes to continue to do her part to usher in an improving era for her craft.

"Definitely just keep working," Trefzger said of venturing toward 10-6 and above. "Take advantage of every time I have to go work and practice. Take advantage of the warm weather we have coming."