COLUMBUS — It’s been a little while since the state track and field championships had seen a Xenia Buccaneer in its midst. Meaghan Wakefield broke a six-year drought, and made the most of her first-ever state appearance June 1 at the Division I girls high jump competition at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
According to coach Peyton Bartley, Wakefield became the first female Xenia High School student-athlete to compete at the state meet since Africa Strodes competed there in the 2013 long jump.
The Bucs sophomore admitted to having a few early jitters on her first couple jumps. She missed her first try at the initial height of 5-foot, then missed the first try at 5-2, before clearing that height as well. She came within a clip of the bar with her heel of getting over at 5-4, too.
“I think it was the nerves. I just wasn’t used to it. This is a big stadium,” she said. “… This is crazy. I’ve never really been here. This will definitely serve as some motivation for me next year, most definitely.”
Wakefield was one of seven competitors to bow out after three unsuccessful attempts at 5-4. As a result of the two nerve-induced misses, Wakefield finished 13th overall.
She said she’s already got her off-season planned out, in hopes of getting even stronger and jumping higher as well.
“I’ll be mostly in the weight room to build more strength, and basketball will help me too,” she said. “My goal is to get back here and place somewhere on the podium, actually.
“This experience was good!”
Assistant Jumps coach Kathy Patterson said Wakefield did a terrific job, once she shook off her early competition jitters.
“She did a lot better on her last couple jumps, and she came soooo close to clearing 5-4. For her first time out, I thought she did very well,” Patterson said.