Reed City pole vaulter wins state title

FASBENDER: Reed City’s Nate Fasbender wipes water from his forehead at the Division 3 state final Saturday. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

FASBENDER: Reed City’s Nate Fasbender wipes water from his forehead at the Division 3 state final Saturday. (Pioneer photo/John Raffel)

Fasbender clears 14 feet to take first at Division 3 state final

COMSTOCK PARK — Reed City pole vaulter Nate Fasbender was happy with his height on Saturday at the Division 3 state finals, but he was even happier with his placing.

Fasbender, a junior, cleared 14 feet in the pole vault for first place at Comstock Park High School. He defeated Olivet’s Dave Hewer, who cleared 13-6. Cole Gingrich of Pine River (13-0) took sixth place.

Athletes competed in rain showers throughout most of the day.

Reed City had 10 points, all from Fasbender to tie for 26th place. Pine River with eight points, tied for 29th.

Fasbender noted his vault was not his highest of the season.

“If you look at the weather, it made a difference,” Fasbender said, adding that under better conditions, “15 feet definitely could have happened.”

Fasbender got his first state title, but he’s still pursing the school record of 16 feet, “which will hopefully happen next year,” he said. “The competition was really strong, but then we had the first and second seed, no height, and a couple of guys who couldn’t mentally take the weather conditions.”

Fasbender said he mentally blocked out weather conditions.

“There are things you can do,” he said. “You keep your pole dry, you have it under towel, things like that.”

But Fasbender was “overjoyed” to take first.

“I’m looking to do it again next year,” he said.

Fasbender also was in the 4×100 relay, which did not place.

Gingrich was one of two Pine River runners to place. Ben Rigling was sixth in the 800 run (1:57.67) and seventh in the 400 run (51.6).

Gingrich indicated he was happy with his vault, considering the conditions. It’s his first state finish.

“I’m excited to place,” he said.

Rigling went to the medalist stand twice.

“I wasn’t overly happy with the 400,” he said. “I’m happy with the 800. I was in shape for it all year. I didn’t get the race I wanted for it most of the year. Today I did.”

The only other area athlete to place in the finals meet was Pine River’s Mary Ware, who was fifth in the discus (112-8) in the girls meet.

Ware has been in the finals in the past but placed for the first time.

“I’m happy being on the podium, but I wish I could have done better,” Ware said. “(Her throw) was decent. It’s not what I wanted. When I did my first throw, it was raining.”

Her best throw all season was 116-7. This was her best of four varsity seasons.

“I’ve had a lot of support from my coaches,” Ware said.

Her teammate, Robin Peppey, qualified for both the shot put and discus, but didn’t place in either.

Ware will be throwing at Hastings College in Nebraska.

“I was researching for a school for a wildlife biology career,” she said. “That one came up.”


Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at

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