For Edison junior Joe Eskra, it was a chance to get his name out there and he succeeded as he took sixth place in the Division II pole vault with a leap of 13-feet-10 to give him All-Ohio honors. He ended his junior season on the podium in front of thousands of fans at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus.
Heading into the day, Eskra held a nice 13-10 seed mark after taking second in the Lexington regional last week. He followed up that performance with a repeat and a sixth place finish. He walked out of the stadium with a nice bronze medal handing from his neck.
“I am very proud of what I was able to do,” Eskra said. “I made some mistakes that were very costly. I wasted a couple of jumps there at the end when I just went through the pit. I could have used different poles or bigger poles, but who knows. As a junior, I am happy with what I did and I am ready to just come back next year, work even harder and place even higher.”
Eskra started off with a miss right off the bat at 12-06. But it was a good warmup run as he cleared the bar on his next vault and cruised his way to 13-10. It was then where he took his three misses. On his first two attempts, he wasn’t able to get in the air after reaching for a new pole and was unable to get his steps right. He finally got up on his third try but barely clipped the bar sending it crashing down and bringing an end to his successful season.
The sixth place finish lit a fire under Eskra that is likely going to burn until next season when he finds himself back in Columbus for some redemption.
“I will be going to a lot of summer camps and I am looking at a 3-day camp at Mount Union,” Eskra said. “I will be working every Sunday at Altitude Headquarters. I want to go out, get stronger and faster and be as well prepared as I possibly can be for next year. Now it is time to relax and take some time off then get right back at it.”
It was the first time Eskra had made the trip to the Jesse O and he was not disappointed by the event.
“When I came down here on Thursday, the stadium was empty,” Eskra said. “I was just mind-blown just thinking about the amount of athletes that have won state championships here. I just pictured all of those record-breaking performances. Then when I started vaulting, everyone is here. I had an amazing cheering section over in the corner in the orange. The support was remarkable.”
The Edison junior picked up his first All-Ohio honor and sets himself up for a successful year in 2018.