State-placer Sotak leaps his way to Youngstown State

J. Patrick Eaken

Woodmore graduate Cole Sotak started his career as a pole vaulter just following lead of his sister Jessie, a 2016 graduate.
Now, Sotak is taking his game a step further, joining the Youngstown State University track team as a pole vaulter, despite not getting to compete his senior year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The two-time state placer signed his letter of intent to become an NCAA Division I athlete last December.
Youngstown State recruited him because he was rated the ninth best pole vaulter in Ohio’s senior class.
“He’s excited about it. It’s definitely something he’s earned,” said Woodmore track coach Jim McMahon.
“He has an older sister who went through Woodmore and she was a track athlete as well in the pole vault. She’s four years older, so he obviously was interested in it from a younger age.
“He competed in junior high and obviously enjoyed it. He puts in a lot of work in the offseason. He goes over to Coach (Shawn) Beamer in Bellevue at Altitude Headquarters during the offseason, working on his craft over there. He put out a lot of weight in the weight room from freshman to sophomore year and even sophomore to junior year, and put on a lot of time, too. He’s really come a long way.”
Cole, who plays multiple sports, including basketball, had success over the winter in several indoor meets, including the state meet at Inspire Institute and Academy, an Olympic training center in Geneva, Ohio.
“I was with him at the Kent State meet and he went to Tiffin University,” McMahon said. “His mark from Tiffin qualified him to the state indoor meet over at Inspire — that big athletic center in Geneva, Ohio. He actually competed in the state indoor meet in Division II and III pole vault (combined) and placed sixth, and PR’d (14 feet, nine inches, or 4.41 meters) at the meet. That was obviously his last meet that he competed in.”
Sotak is a two-time outdoor state qualifier, finishing 11th in 2018 and fifth in the D-III pole vault. He qualified for regionals his freshman, sophomore and junior year, and was regional runner-up in 2019.
As a junior, he was the D-III district champion at Perkins High School and Northern Buckeye Conference champion. He placed second in the NBC as a freshman and third as a junior. Sotak owns the school’s outdoor record with a leap of 14-6 in 2019.
He contributed to the Wildcats track team in other events, too. At Woodmore, he had personal best times of 12.2 seconds in the 100-meter dash, 25.7 in the 200 and 1:07.4 in the 400.
Joining Sotak at Youngstown State is Emily Wolf (Oak Harbor), who finished ninth in the discus and 17th in the shot put at last year’s state meet. She was rated the 19th best senior discus thrower in Ohio with personal-best throws of 38.68 meters (126 feet, 10.8 inches) in the discus, 12.35 meters (40-6.2) in the shot and 31.69 (103-11.6) in the hammer.


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