Coming off a second-place finish in the pole vault in the Division II/III state indoor track and field meet, Morgan Iverson was looking forward to her final outdoor season this spring.

The Grove City Christian senior had her sights set on earning a fourth Division III state berth in the event.

However, Iverson and her teammates can only think about what might have been, as the OHSAA canceled the spring sports season because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

"I was pretty hopeful (that there would be a season) because I was studying the numbers and trends and watching Gov. (Mike) DeWine's messages every day, but it didn't work out," Iverson said. "It's unfortunate, but there's nothing you can really do about it, so I just look forward to the future."

Iverson's future includes competing in the pole vault at Hillsdale College, a Division II program in Michigan. She also considered Tiffin and Wheeling.

"(Competing in college) is what is keeping me positive," said Iverson, who has a 4.0 GPA. "I still have four more years that I can still get to train, do the sport that I love. It makes it a lot easier. My heart really goes out to those senior athletes where this is it for them, because I know how much I would have been hurting."

Grove City Christian had three weeks of preseason training at nearby Grove City before the season was suspended and ultimately canceled. First-year coach Joe Montoya was impressed with Iverson's preparation for the season.

"I got to work with her a little bit during indoor," Montoya said. "She had a great indoor season. She's been incredibly encouraging. Every day at practice she was lifting up her teammates. Even now, it's obvious that she's hurting from this, but she's such a strong leader. She's had so many encouraging things to say to the underclassmen."

Iverson placed second in a program-record 12 feet at the state indoor meet, which was held March 7 at SPIRE Institute in Geneva.

"I was extremely happy," she said. "I was very proud of myself. I was not expecting to get second. I set a goal for myself to get top five because it would have been better than last year, but with it being D-II and D-III, I just went in having fun. It was a blast. It was the most fun I had competing in a long time."

Iverson competed in her first indoor state meet last season as a junior, tying for sixth (11-5).

She also holds the outdoor program record of 11-9, which she set a year ago in a regular-season meet at Grove City. She went on to finish sixth (11-0) at state.

Iverson finished seventh (10-6) at state as a sophomore after failing to clear the opening of height of 9-6 at state as a freshman.

She credits her father, Scott, for her development in the event. He has served as an assistant coach with the Eagles since 2018.

"Coach Montoya is there for me as a support system, but my dad is my coach when it comes to me checking my steps. He's working on the heights, he's telling me things I need to fix," Iverson said. "He's my main pole vault guy. He wants me to succeed as much as I do and even more. He is amazing, and it wouldn't be as special what I've achieved without him being there."

Iverson was hoping to compete in the New Balance Indoor Nationals, which were scheduled to be held March 13-15 at The Armory in New York City, but the event was canceled because of the pandemic. She was notified of the cancellation in the early morning of March 12 when her family was preparing to begin the nearly nine-hour drive.

Iverson hopes to compete in the New Balance Outdoor Nationals, which are scheduled for July 16-19 in Greensboro, North Carolina.

fdirenna@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekFrank