Iain McCormick was just having fun, but his father didn't see things in the same light.
As a 9-year-old, the Grandview Heights High School junior would play around with pipes that were stored in the garage for Sean McCormick's job, running and sticking them in the ground to see how high he could go in the air.
That was the infancy of what would become McCormick's passion. Earlier this month, he set the boys track and field team's pole-vault record with an effort of 14 feet, 6 inches, breaking the mark of 13-2 set in 1962.
"When I was really little, I would go into our garage and my dad had a whole bunch of copper pipe in there because he would work on houses," McCormick said. "I would take one of those big copper or lead pieces of pipe and I would run (through) the backyard and shove it into the ground to see how high I could get. My dad hated it, because I would put big holes in the yard and fill (the end of) his pipes up with dirt."
McCormick broke the program's oldest remaining record April 1 in a tri-meet at Olentangy Liberty. The longstanding record was held by Bruce Buchanan, who competed in much different conditions.
"We had pretty much rustic conditions," Buchanan said. "I used an aluminum pole and we didn't have a padded mat to fall on. We fell on sawdust.
"You couldn't move the standards. They were just poles with little nails sticking out of the end. The crossbar was an aluminum triangle instead of the fiberglass ones they use today, and you didn't want to land on it either."
When Buchanan graduated in 1962, the state record in the pole vault was 13-6. It's now 17-2, set by Gahanna's Jacob Blankenship in 2012.
Buchanan was pleased to see McCormick eclipse his program record.
"I think it's great," said Buchanan, who competed at Ohio State. "I think it was way about time. He's a great kid and would have had it earlier had he not hurt himself."
McCormick missed all of his sophomore season after tearing his left ACL during an indoor meet at Otterbein. This year, he had an indoor personal best of 15-6 on Jan. 5 to finish first in a meet at Otterbein.
"It felt amazing (to win) because I just was hoping to get fifth or sixth place," he said. "I injured my knee there last year. Then on my last jump this time, I pulled a hamstring. I don't think I'll be going back to Otterbein again."
McCormick qualified for the Division III regional meet in the pole vault as a freshman, finishing seventh (11-6). He tore his left ACL on Jan. 6, 2018, during the indoor season and didn't get to vault again until mid-August. He went through physical therapy before competing in the indoor season.
In the Division II-III state indoor meet March 2 at SPIRE Institute in Geneva, McCor-mick tied for fifth (14-0).
On April 18 in the Bobcat Booster Invitational, he passed his attempts until starting at 12-0. He battled blustery conditions and was unable to clear his three attempts and did not place.
"It was pretty windy," McCormick said. "I wanted to break the record here (at home), especially (April 18) because it was three years to the day that I first pole-vaulted.
"I was in the eighth grade and it was at Buckeye Pole Vaulting (Academy) in Lewis Center. My mom (Alex) took me up there for lessons. I jumped 8-0 that day and I just fell in love with it."
Also in the Bobcat Booster Invitational, McCormick won the 100 meters (11.84 seconds), placed second in the 200 (23.46) and joined Darreion Davis, Jackson Deubner and Luke Wallace on the first-place 400 relay (46.02).
He said pole-vaulting is his passion because of the difficulty of the event.
"I tell everyone who starts (pole-vaulting) that it's about 50 percent physical and 50 percent mental. You just have to keep a clear head, think straight and do what you know," he said. "The toughest part is putting all of the pieces together. There are so many things that have to go together when you vault, and you have to put them together one by one and make sure things happen at the right time. You probably have about a half-second to do 15 different things.
"My favorite thing about vaulting is when you get up high on a bigger pole and you make a good jump, you feel like you're flying through the air. It is the best feeling in the world. I'd give up anything for that feeling. It's amazing."
Track squads sweep Booster team titles
The boys and girls track teams combined to set three program records while winning the six-team Bobcat Booster Invitational.
The girls scored 157 points to outdistance runner-up Mount Gilead (110), setting two records in the process. Tayler Pierce won the high jump with an effort of 5-3, eclipsing the record of 5-2 3/4 set by teammate Liza DeVere on April 12 in the Russ Owen Bexley Relays.
The 400 relay of Jenna Richards, Maddie Morosky, Whitney Schaefer and Makenzie Bush won in a program-record 51.78.
Schaefer, Hannah Yochem, Pierce and Bush were first in the 800 relay (1:49.66), and Yochem, Pierce, Nina Amicon and Morosky won the 1,600 relay (4:18.28).
Amicon also won the 1,600 (5:34.12), and Yochem was first in the 400 (1:02.55).
The boys topped second-place Mount Gilead 160-144.5 as Luke Lachey broke the program record in the high jump while winning with a 6-3 3/4. Aaron Snyder set the previous mark of 6-3 1/2 in 1990.
In addition to Davis, Deubner, Wallace and McCormick winning the 400 relay, Nico Card, Wallace, Jack Kessler and Connor Dobies won the 800 relay (1:34.69) and Kessler, Wallace, Lachey and Card finished first in the 1,600 relay (3:34.65).
In addition to McCormick winning the 100, also placing first were Derek Amicon in the 1,600 (4:34.8), Card in the long jump (19-3 1/2), Collin Haj Abed in the 110 hurdles (16.38) and Chris Miller in the 800 (2:06.5).
"It was a heck of a night," coach Brian Schoch said. "Both the boys and the girls ran strong and jumped really well. We had a lot of (personal records) and set three school records, which is rare. I'm super-pleased with how things went and how they competed for us."
Softball team picks up league victory
The softball team snapped a 12-game losing streak by defeating Whitehall 9-8 on April 17 in MSL-Ohio Division play.
The Bobcats also defeated Whetstone 15-5 in five innings April 18. They were 3-12 overall and 1-5 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Bexley on April 22.
"We have played a lot better than our record has shown," coach Tori Lynch said. "We would be playing well and then have one bad inning. That has been the difference."
Claire Bower led the Bobcats with a .441 batting average and 11 runs through 15 games. Marissa Tose was hitting .265 with seven RBI and seven runs.
Baseball team suffers first two losses
The baseball team won its first 12 games before losing back-to-back contests.
The Bobcats were 12-2 overall and 3-1 in the MSL-Ohio before playing Whitehall on April 22.
Grandview defeated Bexley 6-3 on April 15 before falling to the Lions 3-0 on April 17 in a pair of league games.
The Bobcats then lost to West Jefferson 13-3 in six innings April 18.
Through 14 games, Gavin Van Horn led the team in batting average (.583) and on-base percentage (.717) and had 11 RBI, 23 runs and 10 stolen bases. He also was 4-0 with a 0.27 ERA, 31 strikeouts and 10 walks in 25 2/3 innings.
Luke Berlin was 3-0 with a 0.88 ERA in 24 innings with 12 strikeouts and four walks.
Joey Bertani was batting .435 with 17 RBI and 16 runs, and Jake Hollar was hitting .424 with 24 runs and 10 stolen bases. Jon-Micah Griffith was batting .375 with 12 RBI and 10 runs.
Below are the coming schedules for the Grandview Heights baseball, softball, boys tennis and track & field teams:
April 27 – At Whetstone with Galion Northmor
*April 29 – At Columbus Academy
*May 1 – Home vs. Academy
April 26 – Home vs. Ready
*April 29 – Home vs. Whitehall. The Bobcats lost to the Rams 7-5 on April 8 and won 9-8 on April 17.
April 30 – At Briggs
*April 25 – Home vs. Wellington
*April 30 – At Academy
TRACK & FIELD
April 26 – Ranger Invitational at Hamilton Township
April 30 – Home vs. Fairbanks and Hamilton Township