By Rob Kiser, Piqua Daily Call
COLUMBUS - Covington sophomore Jett Murphy wasn't sure how fast he would recover from a knee injury suffered during his freshman season.
Safe to say, he exceeded his own expectations, finishing fourth in the Division III pole vault at the state track and field meet at Jesse Owens Stadium.
"I wasn't sure I would be able to do all this, this quickly," Murphy said after clearing 14-4 and breaking Jon Sampson's school record. Murphy had tied the record at district and regional before breaking it Friday.
"I was able to break the school record," Murphy said. "To do it at the state meet, that felt really good."
That left Murphy as one of five vaulters left at 14-8.
Colin Etchen of Edgerton was the only vaulter to clear that height. With Murphy, Ryan Stevens of Newcomserstown, Cory Depinet of Attica Seneca East and Michael Kochenderfer of Ashland Crestview all going out at that height.
Etchen went 15-6 to win the title. Because of misses, Murphy finished fourth. Depinet and Kochenderfer tied for second and Stevens finished fifth.
He had made it through 14-feet clean, again matching Sampson's record.
"That was a big goal coming in (getting to 14-4 with no misses)," Murphy said. "The atmosphere over here is a lot different, but it is just something you have to adjust to."
After missing 14-4 on his first attempt, Murphy sailed over the bar with plenty to spare on his second attempt.
"I knew I was going to get it," Murphy said. "I didn't expect to make it by that much. But I knew I could do it."
When he took his third attempt at 14-8, the other three competitors had already gone out, meaning if he made it, he would finish in the top two. And he was close.
"I was thinking about that (two guys left)," Murphy said. "But, I came over here, finished fourth and got a school record. I definitely want to get 15 feet next year and a state championship is a big goal. We will just see how things go."
Murphy has set the bar high after his performance Friday.
Covington sophomore Cade Harshbarger finished eighth in his heat of the 110 hurdles in 15.83 and seventh in the 300 hurdles, 41.34.
Covington's 1,600 relay (Zane Barnes, Brandon Magee, Jayce Pond, Nathan Lyle) finished seventh in their heat in 3:30.72.
It marked the end of an impressive athletic career for Magee, who qualified for state in relays all four years on the track and was a state qualifier in wrestling as a senior. Magee was also an All-Ohio selection in football as a senior.
The lone Covington girl to qualify for state was sophomore Breanna Kimmel, who was making her second straight appearance in Columbus after qualifying as a member of the Lady Buccs' 4x200 meter really team a year ago. This time Kimmel qualified as an individual as she finished eighth in her heat of the 100 meter dash in the time of 13.04.