Hempfield sophomore pole-vaulter Barnhart ready to soar

Tuesday, May 14, 2019 | 1:30 AM

Tanner Barnhart was bummed watching the Hempfield boys track team win the school’s seventh WPIAL team title May 6 at Peters Township.

He was disappointed because a sprained left foot prevented him from pole vaulting.

Hempfield’s best vaulter sat and cheered on Rylan Kauffman and Lukas Kissel, who won the event to help clinch the team title. As the Spartans did a victory lap around Peters Township’s football field, Barnhart said he felt like taking the boot of his left foot and joining them.

Well, the Hempfield sophomore got good news last Friday when his doctor cleared him to compete Thursday at the WPIAL Class AAA Track and Field Championships at Slippery Rock.

“All I wanted was a second chance,” Barnhart said. “I’m feeling a lot better.”

Barnhart injured his foot at the WPIAL team semifinals April 30 at Baldwin when he slipped on wet grass.

“I was scared for him,” Hempfield pole vault coach Melissa White said. “He looks good, and I feel he’ll place.”

White didn’t want to make any prediction on how Barnhart or her other two vaulters will do. She hopes they will do well.

Barnhart is eager for the opportunity.

“I just wanted another shot at competing against Jack (Codispot of Butler),” Barnhart said. “He’s really good, and I want to get a shot at him.”

Codispot is the WPIAL’s top seed in Class AAA, clearing 15 feet, 6 inches. Indiana junior Isaac Roadman is second at 14-10, followed by Barnhart at 14-9.

“My goal is to qualify for states, and I want to clear 15 feet,” Barnhart said. “I’m going to come back stronger. I’m coming back with vengeance.”

Before the injury, Barnhart was making steady progress. He cleared 13-9 as a freshman. He also had a good indoor season. He finished ninth in the state during the indoor season, clearing 14-6.

Barnhart also is excited about competing at Slippery Rock. That’s because his mom, Stacey, graduated from there.

“That’s going to be neat jumping there,” Barnhart said.

Kauffman, a junior, missed the WPIALs in 2018 because of an injury. White said he’s back to making a full seven-step run. He’s been at five all season.

Kauffman also got a new pole after his snapped at the WPIAL team championship.

White said Kissel, a junior, is going to a 14-foot pole for the first time and she’s look for good things from him.

But for Barnhart, he’s cherishing his second chance.

Paul Schofield is a Tribune-Review Staff Writer. You can contact Paul by email at pschofield@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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