Paige Grosel partied like there was no tomorrow last weekend.
Hey, you only graduate from high school once in this life, and you might as well make it count, right?
"Yes, I celebrated," said Grosel before pole vault practice at Don Drumm Stadium on Monday Memorial Day. "It was a good time."
Grosel, wearing sunglasses and looking like a movie star, grinned.
"It was quite an exciting weekend to say the least," she continued. "Lots of stuff going on with the (regional) track meet (last Friday) and lots of graduation parties - and our graduation."
Last Sunday, Grosel and the Marietta High School Class of 2012 received their diplomas at Dyson Baudo Recreation Center at Marietta College. Epitomizing student/athlete to the letter "T," the 2011 MHS Homecoming Queen finished tied for third in her class of 200-plus students with a 4.1 GPA.
"It was pretty bitter-sweet, but it was a lot of fun," said Grosel of the graduation ceremony. "And, seeing Tim make a speech was really special."
Grosel said her twin brother Tim, the co-salutatorian of the class, spoke for about four minutes.
With graduation behind her, Grosel was now devoting her efforts and energy to preparing for the pole vault event at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Ohio state track and field meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium on the campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus.
Last Friday at Pickerington, Grosel became a state qualifier for the second straight year when she cleared the bar at 10 feet, 4 inches, good for fourth place.
She owns the school record of 11-4 in the event, set at the Marietta Night Relays at Don Drumm Stadium on April 3
At state in 2011, Grosel was 11th with a vault of 10-6.
Not that Grosel needs an excuse to party, but it would be almost automatic if she places in the top 8 and gets to stand on the podium at state this weekend.
If she does that, she'll know then that she's earned All-Ohio honors - outdoors. Already, she's an all-stater in indoor track.
Of course, there will be lots of competition - and lots of people observing her every move.
All eyes will be on Grosel as she races down the pole vault runway.
"It's pretty intimidating," she said, "to go into a stadium and have the entire stands full of people and people all around the fence watching you."
Having been to state last year certainly will be beneficial. She'll still be nervous, though - but not as nervous.
"Hopefully, I'll be able to attack the vault a little bit differently and be a little calmer," Grosel said.
Seeing all of her family, friends, teammates and classmates there will also be a plus.
"It's nice to know you have support," Grosel said. "It'll be fun."
No question about it, Grosel will be giving it her all, and doing the very best she can...and then....
Well, hopefully, whether Grosel places or not at state, someone's still making plans for another party.
She deserves one.
Ron Johnston is the Marietta Times sports editor, and can be reached at 376-5441 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.