The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

May 21, 2013

H.S. track and field: Selinsgrove senior battles through injury to help Seal girls win gold

By Eric Shultz

For The Daily Item

For a while, it seemed as if an abundance of hard work had just gone down the drain.

Selinsgrove's Jessica Gill was preparing for the District 4 Class AAA track and field championships meet last Thursday, set on trying to make it to the state championship meet.

"I had worked so hard for it the whole year. I even worked over the summer," said Gill, the daughter of Barb and Timothy Gill.

On one vault attempt, she let go of the pole and aborted from the try. The senior landed in the vaulting box on her back and leg, injuring herself enough to be scratched from her running events at Saturday's meet.

But even though Gill was in severe pain Saturday while warming up for the pole vault, she pulled off something that Seals coach Jim Taylor said in an email will remain with him forever. Gill pushed through the pain and cleared the bar at 10 feet to take the district title in the event.

The Seals, who won the team championship that day, would have finished three-quarters of a point short of gold had Gill not competed, Taylor said. That finish helped Selinsgrove advance to the state meet, which will be held Friday and Saturday at Shippensburg University.

Although Gill, the defending district champion pole vaulter, was able the best the competition, it was never guaranteed that she actually would be able to compete.

After going to the hospital Thursday, Gill said she found that her hip and the muscles around her ribs and backside were bruised. When she got home, Gill said she could not walk due to her leg swelling.

Gill, who plans on pole vaulting at Shippensburg next year, said she was told she couldn't run Saturday -- she had been a part of the 400- and 800-meter relay teams and also ran in the 400 meter dash -- but would be allowed to attempt to vault. So she tried getting through Friday on one crutch while icing down and did everything she could to be ready for the meet.

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