Warren track duo excited to be in Columbus

TOM PERRY The Marietta Times Warren High’s Erin Bogard competes in the pole vault during the Marietta Noon Lions Invitational earlier this season at Don Drumm Stadium. Bogard will compete in the event at Saturday’s state meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus.

VINCENT — A pair of Warren High school thinclads will compete in the state track and field meet this weekend in Columbus and it likely will not be the last trip to Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium for either one.

Sophomore Erin Bogard is set to compete in the pole vault competition after breaking a school record at last weekend’s regional meet in Athens, while freshman Justin Lough also will compete after placing third in the 300 meter hurdles.

Bogard will be making her second consecutive trip to Columbus and hopes the experience she gained last season as a freshman will pay dividends in her return.

“I know what to expect this time around. It is such a big meet both spectator wise and the amount of competition,” said Bogard, who broke the school record last week by clearing 11 feet, 7 inches in Athens. “I know I can calm down and do the things that got me there in the first place.”

Warren head coach Sally Maddox has been impressed with Bogard’s improved performance this year on the heels of a stellar performance last season as a freshman.

“She has been working all season long to break that record and we have been really pleased with her progress,” said Maddox. “We’re excited and anxious to see what she can do in Columbus.”

While making a return trip to Columbus was definitely a goal for Bogard, breaking the record was certainly on her list as well.

“That was my biggest goal and I was hoping to break the record,” said Bogard, who will need to place within the top eight to earn All-Ohio honors. “It was exciting and it was nice to be able to do it at such a big meet like the regionals.”

The girls pole vault finals are slated for 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Lough finished third in last week’s 300 hurdles with a time of 40.17 seconds to earn a trip to state in his very first year eligible at the high school level.

Maddox feels that Lough is fundamentally sound for his age and would not be surprised to see him do well in Columbus.

“To qualify as a freshman is incredible, but Justin has great hurdle technique and the speed to go with it,” said Maddox. “He also seems to always finish strong as well so we are really excited to see how he does.”

Lough set a personal best time in the regionals and would like nothing more than to lower it even more in Columbus.

“I’d really like to get down into the 39s,” said Lough. “I’m trying to work on coming out a little stronger.”

First up for Lough on Friday will be the semifinals slated for 3:30 p.m. with the finals scheduled for 2:15 p.m. on Saturday.

“I’m really excited and know that it will be some very stiff competition to go up against,” said Lough.

“I’m just taking it step by step and anything I take from this race is a positive.”

Maddox feels both the present and the future are very bright for the young duo.

“We are so proud of both of them for what they have accomplished at such a young age,” said Maddox.