PICKERINGTON — Galion’s Samantha Comer closed out her high school athletic career with an All-Ohio medal in hand on Friday at the OHSAA Division II track and field championships.
The recent graduate of Galion High School placed sixth in the finals of high jump competition at Pickerington High School North to earn the medal. She topped out at 5 feet, 3 inches. She went out of the competition after missing at 5 feet, 4 inches.
“I felt like I performed pretty well,” Comer said. “I’ve only jumped 5-3 one other time and then I jumped 5-4. But 5-4 is my PR (personal record). You don’t always get your PR, but I’m totally fine with 5-3. I’m very proud of myself.”
Sydney Koker of Johnstown Northridge emerged as the high jump state champion in Division II. She cleared 5 feet, 7 inches to win the event. She attempted 5 feet, 8 inches, but was unable to clear it in three jumps.
Jenna Young of Brooklyn was the runnerup, topping out at 5 feet, 6 inches. Highland sophomore Juliette Laracuente placed third with a best mark of 5 feet, 5 inches
Maddie Gill of Wheelersburg and Haidyn Wamsley of McDermott Northwest both cleared 5 feet, 4 inches, but Gill claimed fourth place due to needing fewer attempts at the height. Wamsley placed fifth.
Also joining Comer on the podium were Kassie Stine of Shelby (7th place) and Karis Willow of Liberty-Benton (8th place). They both cleared 5 feet, 3 inches.
“The other girls that competed are so phenomenal. I’m lucky even to compete against them,” the gracious Comer said prior to the medal ceremony.
Comer was hoping to enjoy one more opportunity on the big stage on Saturday, but an unforeseen mishap in the 100-meter hurdles ended her state meet.
In a prime position to advance to hurdles finals, Comer hit one of the last remaining hurdles and suffered a hard fall that knocked her out of the race. She received an ovation from the crowd as she left the track and several fellow competitors returned to give her hugs. Stine, a friendly rival from the Mid Ohio Athletic Conference, was among those who consoled Comer.
Coach Dave Kirk took her to the medical tent to receive treatment for some scrapes she suffered after hitting the ground. Despite the fall, Comer was upbeat and positive.
“I felt real good coming down (to the finish line),” she said. “I have the hurdle mark to prove it. I hit it pretty hard, but I think, for the most part, things happen. It wasn’t meant to be, but just keep pushing through. This is my last day then, but I’m just proud of myself for what I accomplished in the high jump. I’m glad I got up and I’m okay. I’ll be good for volleyball this coming season.”
Comer is headed to Notre Dame College in South Euclid, Ohio, this fall to play volleyball. She received a scholarship from the NCAA Division II institution that is a member of the Mountain East Conference.
“I’m sorry her state meet ended like this, but I told her four years from now when volleyball has paid for college and you don’t owe anybody anything, this will be a very distant memory,” Kirk said. “It’s bittersweet, though. I think placing in the high jump earlier in the day helped ease that pain a little bit.”
Comer said she just enjoyed experiencing the state track and field meet.
“The weather was great, first of all,” Comer said. “And it was really just a nice atmosphere to be in. Being around friends and family and just being able to be here with COVID-19 and everything, it was nice.”
Coach Kirk praised Comer for taking responsibility to be a role for the many young athletes on the Tigers track and field squad this season.
“Her leadership this year was beyond anything we could’ve hoped for,” Kirk said. “When we talked to our seniors, we told them we want them to lead by example. Forty-one out of our 65 kids were freshmen, and they’re all looking up (to the seniors), and they’re looking up to someone like (Comer), I’m set. Our future is set because they learned some good things from seniors like Samantha.”
Follow @GalionInquirer on Twitter. Like The Galion Inquirer on Facebook.