Warren’s Erin Bogard a fearless fighter

VINCENT — With a bag of ice in her right hand, Erin Bogard was nursing a broken nose and sitting “Native American style” on the ground not far from the pole vault pit at Warren High field.

It was late Saturday afternoon, and the annual Warrior Track and Field Invitational was in the process of wrapping up. (Both the Warren boys and girls won.)

The Youngstown University recruit had a big smile on her face as she observed Waterford High’s George “Doc” Pantelidis and Belpre High’s Hunter Gilbert battling it out in the boys’ PV competition. (Pantelidis cleared the bar at 12 feet to win the event.)

Warren High pole vault coach/guru Pat Wigal walked over to Bogard as she stood and posed with a fist clenched like he was going to punch his protege.

“All right, get ready to take a picture,” he said, smiling.

Bogard just laughed.

Considering the fact that Bogard’s nose was black and blue, her sense of humor was intact.

Earlier in the meet, she broke it after clearing the bar with a winning vault of 12 feet.

“It happened on my first attempt at 12-3,” Bogard said.“My right knee came through and hit my nose. It was just a freak accident. It’s just really swollen now.”

While pole vaulting is one of the most graceful, beautiful events at track and field meets, it also has a reputation as being one of the most dangerous events. After all, a participant is running as fast as she or he can with a thick pole in their hands.

Thing is, though, Bogard is fearless and always has been. And, this spring, she’s seeking to become a four-time Ohio Division II state qualifier in the PV event. A year ago, she placed fourth at 11-8 and earned all-state status. (She’s also an indoor All-Ohio honoree in the pole vault.)

“Erin made an almost flawless attempt, came down, and landed on her…landed a little far back and her knee came back and hit her in the nose,” said Wigal of Bogard’s attempt at 12-3.

Wigal paused.

“It’s not real common,” he said of the break.

After breaking her nose, Bogard was transported to the hospital.

“I went to the ER in Belpre and got x-rays,” she said. “And, it’s fractured in two places. They really can’t do anything until I go to an ear, nose, and throat specialist in 14 days — and then I’ll see what they say.”

Warren is scheduled to compete at the Meigs Relays Tuesday and at the Erickson Invitational in Parkersburg Thursday.

“For the next week, I’m out for sure,” Bogard said. “I need to let it heal, so I don’t aggravate anything. But after that, it’s just seeing what Arielle (Baker, Warren Athletic Trainer) says, on how it’s healing and feeling.”

Wigal is confident that Bogard will “bounce right back.”

“She’s tough,” the coach said, “and you can’t keep her down.”

At the Warrior Invitational, Bogard also ran in preliminary heats in the 200 (28.40) and the 100 hurdles (17.30) but had to scratch in the finals. She also ran a leg on the winning 4 by 200 relay team (1:53.50).

After this week, the Warriors are slated to run at River Valley (April 23) and at the Dan Adams Classic (April 26).

Then, on April 30 and May 4, there’s the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference Championships at St. Clairsville.

“We’re looking at OVAC,” Wigal said. “It’s the next big meet. Then, from then on, it’s one meet at a time.”

Added Bogard, “It sucks but it also gives me time to rest and get ready for OVAC and everything.”

Contact Ron Johnston at rjohnston@mariettatimes.com.


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