Sami Heathcote and her Columbus North pole vault coach, Dale Stelting, used the same word to describe her sophomore season.
Heathcote capped her season by winning sectional and regional titles and finishing in a tie for 20th in the pole vault in state finals. She is this year’s The Republic Girls Track Athlete of the Year.
“I felt pretty good because I was able to consistently make 9-6 throughout the year until I went higher,” Heathcote said. “I think the excitement of a larger meet helped get me over the bar. So I felt pretty good about my consistency throughout the year.”
Heathcote cleared 10 feet, 2 inches in the Franklin Sectional and Shelbyville Regional. She made 10-0 at state before narrowly missing 10-6.
“Sami is one of those pole vaulters that is an extraordinarily consistent performer,” Stelting said. “Once Sami clears a height, she very seldom goes lower, and in two years, she has never no-heighted. She’s progressively getting better, and it’s a lot of fun to watch her career unfold. She has a lot of potential.”
Heathcote did not start pole vaulting until the summer before her eighth-grade year. She has been a gymnast since age 2 and still competes in that sport.
The past two years, Heathcote has been a fixture on the Bull Dogs’ gymnastics teams that finished second and third at state. This year, she was able to experience the state track meet for the first time.
“It was very cool to just get to go and experience the whole atmosphere of the meet,” Heathcote said. “It was quite different (than gymnastics) because it’s outside, and it’s a lot bigger.”
Stelting said Heathcote reminds her a lot of former North pole vaulter Chelsea Wieland, who recently completed her career at University of Indianapolis.
Like Heathcote, Wieland was a gymnast for North, and both also ran the 100-meter hurdles. Heathcote was a regional qualifier in the 100 hurdles this season.
“She’s fast, and she’s strong and she’s fearless, and those are good qualities to have in a vaulter,” Stelting said. “Plus, she always smiles. She’s always happy. She’s always easy-going and it’s fun to coach a kid like that.”
Heathcote’s goal this year was to clear 10-0 since she had gone 9-6 last year. Now, she wants to make at least 10-6 next season.
“I always have a goal to do better than the previous year,” Heathcote said. “I would say my goal is just to make it back to state and give it my best again and hopefully do a little bit better.”
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The Republic All-Area Girls Track team:
Sami Heathcote, Columbus North: The sophomore won sectional and regional titles and tied for 20th at state in the pole vault and was a regional qualifer in the 100 hurdles.
Arig Tong, Columbus North: The senior finished fourth in the regional in the 1,600.
Olivia Morlok, Columbus North: The sophomore finished fourth in the 3,200 and was on the at regional.
Elena Stoughton, Columbus East: The sophomore tied for 19th at state in the high jump.
Kayla Truesdell, Jennings County: The junior finished ninth in the shot put and 25th in the discus at state
Sam Sproles, Jennings County: The freshman finished 24th at state in the long jump.
Vivien Crimmins, Brown County: The senior finished 25th at state in the 100 hurdles.
Kathleen McCann, Brown County: The senior finished fourth in the regional in the 400.
Taylor Tatlock, Edinburgh: The junior finished 27th at state in the discus.
Grace Hasler, Hauser: The senior finished sixth in the regional in both the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles.
Marnie Schwarzkopf, Hauser: The freshman finished sixth in the regional in the 800.
Columbus East: Yami Diaz, McKenna Downey, Whitney Poe. Columbus North: Kirsten Ballard, Mackenzie Barnett, Sydney Geckler, Emily Herndon, Adrienne Salemme, Jahna Smiley, Emma Smith, La’Monica Smith, Aric Tong. Jennings County: Baylee Byford, Alana Daeger, Izzy Daugherty, Mariah Grider, Alexis Harsh, Emma McPeek, Emma Morrison. South Decatur: Lana Bell.