Hunter leaves her mark in pole vault
Team champion: McQueen
Coach of Year: Ed Parise
Field Athlete of Year: Cassidy Osborne-Butler, Damonte Ranch
Track Athlete of Year: Jessica Ozoude, Spanish Springs; Destiny Tolliver, McQueen
Douglas selectons: Kindra Ruckman, second-team discus; Hunter Celio, second-team pole vault; Maya Smith, second-team 800 meters.
Team champion: Reed
Coach of Year: Dale Moss, Reed
Field Athlete of Week: Adonis Williams, Damonte Ranch, Vehekite Afu, Reed
Track Athlete of Year: Henry Weisberg, McQueen
Athlete of Year: Henry Weisberg, McQueen
Douglas selections: Logan Kyle, first-team pole vault; John Munyan, first-team 1,600; Sean Wolfkiel, first-team triple jump; Cade Pankey, second-team long jump; Dawson Coman, second-team 100.
It wasn’t quite the finish Hunter Celio envisioned for her senior track and field season.
Then again, the recent Douglas High School graduate achieved some pretty lofty heights in the pole vault this spring when she soared over 10-feet in six meets and ultimately took fourth-place at the Northern 4A Region Championships in Carson City — one spot shy of qualifying for a trip to Las Vegas for the state meet.
Celio cleared 10-0 at the region meet, only to miss that state meet berth when Reno’s Grace Ericson cleared a personal record 10-6. Her performance was good enough to receive second-team recognition on the all-region team, however, there was still some unfinished business.
“I was really bummed about not going to state. I was definitely hoping to go higher,” said Celio, who cleared 10-6 at practice late in the season but never made the height in competition. “I had a good year and I feel fortunate to have been part of such a talented group of vaulters. We were a pretty close-knit group within the team, a super talented group.”
Teammate Logan Kyle capped off his senior season by winning the region boys pole vault gold medal followed by a second-place finish at the state meet in Las Vegas. Kyle plans to continue competing next year at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Ore.
Of interest, Celio is part of a South Lake Tahoe pioneer family — a descendant of Nathan Gilmore, who in 1863 discovered Glen Alpine Springs near Fallen Leaf Lake — and her father, Clint Celio, is a 1992 Douglas High graduate.
And in terms of Douglas pole vault history, she now stands No. 2 on the school’s all-time list of female vaulters, behind only Amanda Brazeau, who set the school record of 12-0 at the 2012 Big George Invitational in Minden and won back-to-back state titles in 2010-11.
The 5-foot-8 Celio previously was involved in gymnastics with Tumbleweeds from age 5-13 and she did dance.
“It definitely helps your aerial awareness and general strength,” she said of gymnastics. “Having that foundation and experience helps. It’s interesting, but if you look at all the vaulters, especially the top tier ones, they were all gymnasts.”
Celio pursued cheerleading and softball as a freshman at Douglas, however, she looks back and wishes she had taken up vaulting at that time.
“I might have had a better foundation and the added experience would have only helped,” Celio said. “But I had a good three years.”
Celio is now headed east to attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, where she plans to focus on mechanical engineering with a concentration on management. She recently graduated as Douglas High’s Class of 2017 valedictorian with a 4.5 weighted grade point average.
Despite coming up a little short at the region meet last month, that’s just a blip on the radar now. Nor should anyone discount the possibility of hearing more about Celio in the pole vault some day in the future.
“MIT does not recruit for athletics and they said I could join the team as a walk-on, but I don’t want to have the commitment of a varsity sport interfere (with academics),” she said. “I am in the process of looking for a club because vaulting is definitely something I plan to keep up with in college.”