It's taken some time, but senior Aaron Sass of the Worthington Kilbourne High School boys track and field team is getting back to where he once was in the pole vault before suffering a broken arm.

It's taken some time, but senior Aaron Sass of the Worthington Kilbourne High School boys track and field team is getting back to where he once was in the pole vault before suffering a broken arm.

In the Panther Invitational on April 6 at Hilliard Darby, Sass won the event by clearing 11 feet, 6 inches. Four days later in a dual meet against Hilliard Davidson, he cleared 11-0.

"I was playing backyard football and broke my left radius, so I had surgery in November (2010) and another one last July," he said. "It was tough because I had physical therapy at 4:30 (p.m.) every Wednesday (last season) and that was the only time I could take it, so I was missing at least one practice every week for that. Plus, you need arm strength to pole vault. It was a slow process to build that back up."

"Aaron is having a good year after coming off an injury before his junior year, and it kind of messed up his arm," coach Todd Deisher said. "He won (April 10) going 11-0 on a cold night. He was running the 110 (-meter hurdles) and the 300 hurdles and still going back and forth to the pole vault."

Cold weather is not conducive to pole vaulting, according to Sass.

"It's tough to compete in the cold if your legs get too cold and it's also tough to feel the pole," he said. "I try to stay warm between jumps. That's about all you can do.

"Pole vaulting is all about having fun and doing everything perfectly at the right moment. You have to run and plant and have you have to do everything right or it all falls apart."

Entering a tri-meet against Upper Arlington and Central Crossing on April 17, Sass' top height in the pole vault this season came in the Panther Invitational. His season-best time in the 110 hurdles was 17.1 seconds, which he ran in the Icebreaker Invitational on March 24 at Watkins Memorial, and his season-best time in the 300 hurdles was 46.3, which he ran April 10 against Davidson, his first race in the event this season.

"Whether it's in track or in the classroom, if you don't work, you won't get a lot out of it," said Sass, who has a 4.0 GPA and plans to attend Ohio State. "If you don't push yourself in the pole vault, the results won't be there."

One of Sass' teammates, senior Brad Polivka, has made a major transition this season, going from running the 3,200 to competing in the 400 and 800.

"They both have been great for us to start the season," Deisher said of Sass and Polivka. "We have had five meets and still haven't had everyone there at any one meet. We're still waiting to see what we can do with a whole team. Still, we've been able to score in every event, except the high jump."

Entering the meet against UA and Central Crossing, Polivka's top time in the 400 was 52.5 and his best time in the 800 was 2:03.

"I'm more of a mid-distance runner now in the 400 and 800," Polivka said. "I like the shorter distance because I like running fast. I definitely think training for cross country and the distance events (in track) has helped my endurance and stamina. I think it helps me sustain myself in the 800."

"Brad has really worked hard to make things come together for him," Deisher said. "He has run the 400, 800, 1,600 as well as the (1,600 relay) and (3,200 relay), and he has our fastest split in the (1,600 relay)."

Polivka, who has a 3.97 GPA, has yet to make a college decision but said he may attend the University of Kentucky, which has offered him a full academic scholarship.

"My parents (Gerald and Barbara) have pushed me to do well and I think that carries over to track and cross country as well," he said. "I think running track and cross country has helped me to stay focused in school."

"Brad is extremely smart," Deisher said. "It always mystifies me at how distance runners are probably our smartest group as a whole, and you would think that they would want the pain over with and run shorter distances, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Maybe they are masochistic because they are the group that takes on the toughest challenge."

Polivka, who said he keeps pace in his first lap of the 800 before picking up steam in the second lap, prefers relays to individual events.

"I like relays more than individual events because you don't want to let down your teammates on the relays," he said. "There isn't as much pressure in individual events because it's just you out there. Plus, the (1,600 relay) is the most exciting race in track, and it's fun to be a part of that."