NEW YORK — Kyle Hutchinson has had a pretty consistent indoor track season.
The Medina pole vault specialist has cleared 15 feet and either won or finished runner-up in just about every meet.
That’s a major reason why he will be one of four Medina Countians to make the trip to New York today for the New Balance Indoor Nationals.
Like any competitor, the one week Hutchinson didn’t perform to his expectations has him more than ready to compete this weekend against the best the country has to offer.
“After state (last weekend), I watched the video and compared it to my previous meets,” said Hutchinson, referring to a ninth-place finish at the state indoor meet. “I saw what I need to fix, and it’s all I can think about his week.”
Hutchinson qualified for the Elite pole vault competition on Saturday. He is in the first flight of a competition that consists of 32 vaulters.
St. Edward senior and Medina resident Steele Wasik will take part in the Elite pentathlon, while Medina’s Jake Wickey and McKenna Baluch will compete in the Emerging Elite weight throw and pole vault, respectively. Wickey qualified for the Elite competition, but opted to compete in the other division.
Hutchinson, who has cleared 15-0 in four meets this winter, is one of two Ohio competitors — along with Otsego’s Cole Gorski — and sits in the middle of the pack as far as seeds are concerned.
“It’s definitely really cool to get to experience jumping against the top vaulters,” the senior said. “I want to get a PR, and I just bought a pole that I haven’t used yet. I know I probably won’t win it, but my goal is to finish in the top seven.”
The lone countian with experience competing at the famous Armory complex is Wasik. The senior will compete in the pentathlon, which consists of the 60 hurdles, long jump, shot put, high jump and 1,000-meter run for the second straight year. Wasik was fifth with a score of 3,693 points in 2013.
After competing at far from 100 percent a year ago due to getting over the flu, the UCLA recruit is ready for big things.
“After last year, I suppose I’m a little closer to the event. It’s gotten person for me,” said Wasik, who placed in four events at the state indoor meet. “I competed with the flu (last year) and, needless to say, it drug my performance down.
“This year is about just getting out there and doing my own thing.”
Wasik came into last year’s event with a goal of getting 3,400 points, but this year he feels he can hit 4,000 and hold off talented competitors like Columbus Academy’s Jack Lint and Florida’s Gabe Moore.
“If I’m able to do everything I like in each event, then I should come away with the goal,” he said. “The pent will be great. It’s a fast-moving event and there are some great competitors in it. It’ll be close.”
Wickey, a freshman, recently picked up the weight throw this winter after attending a camp at Ashland University with Eagles coach Jud Logan, a four-time Olympic Qualifier in the event.
Last week, Wickey was ninth at the state indoor meet. His mark of 58-11½ was a personal record by four feet.
Now he’s headed to New York to see if he can PR again.
“I have no clue what it will be like, but I’m excited to experience it,” Wickey said. “I’m trying to throw at least 60 feet, and if I can get in the top-six and medal, that would be pretty cool.”
For Baluch, the senior is treating it just like any other meet. After clearing an indoor-best 11-0 earlier this winter at Kent State, she wants to keep improving as she prepares for her final outdoor season that opens at the end of the month.
“I expect to be nervous, but it all comes down to this being a great opportunity to go to the Armory and compete and whatever happens, happens,” said Baluch, who placed ninth at the state indoor meet. “I’m just going to go there and enjoy it.”
Contact Dan Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.