COLUMBUS — Amanda Hotaling wasn’t fazed by the atmosphere of the state track and field meet Friday.
Instead, the North Baltimore freshman thrived it.
Hotaling’s poise under pressure earned the pole vaulter a Division III state championship.
The 15-year-old cleared 11-8 on the final jump of the competition to finish first at Ohio State
University’s Jesse Owens Stadium.
She made 11-8 on her third and final attempt to edge runnerup and Pandora-Gilboa freshman Ellie Braidic,
who was second at 11-4.
Had Hotaling missed, Braidic would have won Hotaling would have been second, based on misses at the
previous height. Braidic cleared 11-4 on her first attempt, while Hotaling missed her first two tries
before making her third.
The championship enabled Hotaling to earn All-Ohio honors which go to the top eight finishers in each
“I felt confident I could make it. I would have been disappointed if I had missed because I had done it
before,” said the 15-year-old Hotaling, who matched her career best. She also jumped 11-8 May 16 to win
the Midland Athletic League meet. “I hoped to win it. I came in here with an open mind and this was my
Hotaling was coming off a difficult performance in the Tiffin regional a week ago when she finished
fourth at 10-4 on a night she wasn’t feeling well. But she came back with a strong performance at state.
“That was awesome. Total composure,” Liberty-Benton assistant coach Tim DeCooman said of Hotaling’s
winning vault. NB doesn’t have a pole vault coach, so Hotaling practices her specialty at L-B. “She knew
she could do it.”
Patrick Henry sophomore Tori Meyer was third at 11-0, while Hardin-Northern junior Shea Barnett was
fourth at 10-4. The top four state finishers all came from the Tiffin regional and they’re all are
eligible to return next season.
Hotaling’s championship capped a big day for DeCooman, whose wife gave birth to a girl Friday morning at
7:07. He then hustled to Columbus for the pole vault at 1 p.m.
DeCooman, a high-energy and positive coach, also works with Braidic and Barnett.
“That was crazy. I can’t believe he came,” Hotaling said. “I’m glad he came because he helped me get
After clearing 11-8, Hotaling decided not to continue because she was tired after 16 vaults and her run
She made her first two attempts, but then missed four of her next six tries. But once she reached 11-0,
she jumped consistently well.
“She did not do it the easy way,” DeCooman said. “It was rough from the get-go. I told her when the chips
are down, that’s when the true champions are made. She stepped up to the challenge and started vaulting
better. At 11-0, she had her first real good jump, she missed, but did it well and that got her back on
the pole she normally uses. It (winning state) was sweet. She really had to work for that one.”
And she handled the pressure when it counted.
“It’s crazy.” Hotaling said. “You’d think a senior would have busted out and won it, but just because I’m
a freshman doesn’t mean I can’t do well. It pushes me to do well because people don’t think you can do
well when you’re a freshman. I wanted to prove people wrong.”
“I expected the nerves because she’s a freshman,” DeCooman said. “What she did I expected, but I didn’t
expect the way she had to work for it and I didn’t expect the competition on her heels today.”