Tootle fifth in Division II
by JOHN HOWLEY / sportingpumpkin.com
COLUMBUS — Peyton Proffitt built onto her legacy at Westfall High School as she added state champion to the long list of her accomplishments.
The senior cleared 12’ 9” to win the Division II pole vault title at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium Saturday.
She was joined on the awards podium by Logan Elm junior Tayla Tootle who placed fifth after clearing 11’ 6”.
Both were on the podium at last year’s state meet as well with Tootle placing seventh and Proffitt eighth.
“Since that day I’ve been working my butt off at the gym, throughout indoor and it’s been so much fun. I have the biggest passion for pole vault — it’s my love,” Proffitt said. “Even in competition, I don’t get stressed. I’m just having a good time – always.”
Proffitt is the first state champion for Westfall in track and field after Mustangs had finished second eight previous times.
Proffitt passed on the three opening heights, electing to join the competition at 11 feet.
She cleared 11” and 11’ 6” on her first attempts. It took her two tries to get 11’ 10”.
With the bar at 12’ 2”, she cleared on her first try and waited as Gallia Academy’s Callie Wilson and Paulding’s Claire Schweller failed to clear — leaving her as the lone competitor and state champion.
“All these girls are great out here. I’ve made some new friends and talked to some new people,” Proffitt said of her competitors at the state meet. “We push each other, pump each other up and it’s so great being able to talk to other girls and be happy the whole time.”
Proffitt then cleared 12’ 6” and 12’ 9” on her first attempts. The competition came to an official close when she was unable to clear 13 feet.
“Throughout indoor my highest was 12’ 3”. Outdoor started a little rocky because of the weather,” she said. “I finally hit 12 feet both at districts and regionals and in practice I worked super duper hard for hours. I PR’ed three times today at 12’ 2” 12’ 6” and 12’ 9”.”
Those personal records also set new school records, which she first broke as a freshman.
All that time she’s been setting school records, her father, Luke, has been there coaching her and helping reach new heights.
“I’ve already cried so much – happy tears, of course. And my dad has been there with me the whole time. I love him and couldn’t have done any of this without him,” she said. “I really want people to know that I am so thankful for him and my teammates.
“He’s my role model. I love him so much. We’re together every day, we go to the gym together, we pole vault together and he’s also following me to college. I’m vaulting at Otterbein and he’s going to be the coach at Otterbein with me. The legacy continues and I’m so excited for it.”
The atmosphere of Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium brought back the special feel of the state championships after being cancelled in 2020 and at Pickerington High School North last season.
“It was cool to be in the Jesse Owens stadium,” Tootle said. “I’ve been to some bigger meets, but it’s cool with all the people watching here. It’s definitely a different feeling.”
Tootle passed on the opening height in Saturday’s finals electing to come in at 10 feet.
She cleared on her second attempt and then cleared 10’ 6” and 11 feet on her first try.
It took two tries for Tootle to clear 11’ 6”. As the bar moved to 11’ 10”, she was one of only six competitors remaining.
“It was definitely comforting because you know you’re going to get on the podium, but I still wanted to get higher and do better,” she said. “I really wanted 11’ 10” and I was close.”
Post-Consolidation Pickaway County Individual State Track and Field Champions
1972 – Tom Fredericks, Circleville in the discus (166′ 10”)
1981 – Elisa Frosini, Circleville in the 800 run (2:15.48)
1981 – Nadine Martin, Lori Archer, Ami Hovermale and Elisa Frosini, Circleville in the 3200 relay (9:38.17)
1983 – Chris Plescia, Circleville in the discus (171′ 11”)
2003 – Bryan Vickers, Circleville in the discus (176′ 1”)
2003 – Krystal Dowdy, Teays Valley in the high jump (5′ 6”)
2005 – Tara Cooper, Logan Elm in the shot put (44′ 9”)
2007 – Emily Eickholt, Logan Elm in the 800 run (2:11.96)
2009 – Brad Liston, Circleville in the 3200 run (9:18.30)
2022 – Peyton Proffitt, Westfall in the pole vault (12′ 9”)