Huskies' Donahey takes 3rd at New Balance Nationals

LEWISTOWN-After hitting a personal, school and county record of 14 feet, 10 1/4 inches, you would think Huskies pole vaulter George Donahey’s ceiling couldn’t get any higher.

Donahey and Mifflin County track and field coach Scott Gantz both think he can raise the roof, though.

“Physically, he has the talent,” Gantz said. “He’s a 15, 16 footer, there’s no doubt about it. With anything else, confidence is everything. Hopefully, this is enough to put him over the edge. Right, now he’s going for the gold.”

Donahey participated in the New Balance Nationals Indoor 2014 meet at the Fort Washington Avenue Armory in New York this past Saturday.

Donahey, Chandler Kennell of Century High School and Chris Rough of Westhill High School each finished at 14-10 1/4 in the “Emerging Elite” division, but the event’s criteria put Donahey third.

Donahey improved upon his fifth-place mark of 14 feet, which he hit just a few weeks ago at the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association indoor championships on March 3.

“This was huge,” Gantz said. “Not only to finish third in the nation, but as a confidence builder for him to go into the outdoor season. This puts him up there with the elite in the state. I think he has pretty high aspirations now for the remainder of the season.”

He was able to make that jump thanks to his work in practice he does three days a week in Harrisburg, in addition to his Mifflin County team practice.

“My uncle owns a facility called VaultWorx in Harrisburg, and I go there three times a week and go down there and practice,” Donahey said.

The improvement was huge for Donahey but he echoed his coach that he can do better.

“The record means a lot to me,” Donahey said. “I wanted to be able to hold that record for myself, that’s a goal. That is my best in my career.

“Hopefully I get to go higher.”

This was a national competition for Donahey and the biggest of his career, which of course caused some nerves.

“It was a really big meet,” Donahey said. “I was kind of nervous. Then, I just sat there and thought about how I could make this jump happen. I focused more, and not about all the people there. It was crazy, it was a huge meet. Now I know I can do better in future meets.”

Donahey was pleased to represent Mifflin County High School at the New Balance Nationals.

“It’s really good for me to get there,” Donahey said. “It shows my school that we have athletes to get there.”

Donahey is setting his sights next on this spring’s PIAA meet and possibly the Penn Relays, which is hosted by the University of Pennsylvania in May.

Gantz sees no reason why his vaulter can’t clear that goal as well.

“There’s no reason why top three in the states in the PIAA shouldn’t happen for him,” Gantz added.