Cydney McMillan, a 14-year-old freshman at Newcomerstown High School, recently traveled to Des Moines, Iowa, for the AAU Junior Olympic competition for pole vaulting.

She completed her junior high track season undefeated and even took the Junior High State title, tying the state record and breaking the local middle school record several times.

To gain more experience, she decided to try and qualify for the Nationals. She took first place in Dayton at the end of July.

After qualifying at Dayton, McMillan was ranked on the leader boards in 17th place. Then it was on to Drake University in Iowa to compete on Aug. 7. The day's events were delayed by several hours due to severe thunderstorms while approximately 25-30 girls were anxiously waiting for their chance at the title!

After qualifying at Dayton, McMillan was ranked on the leader boards in 17th place. Then it was on to Drake University in Iowa to compete on Aug. 7. The day's events were delayed by several hours due to severe thunderstorms while approximately 25-30 girls were anxiously waiting for their chance at the title!

Gusting winds added to the challenges the girls faced throughout the day.

McMillan improved her standings by finishing 9th in the intermediate girls division which includes girls from age 14-16. Medals were awarded to the top eight finishers just nipping McMillan out of medal contention.

"Cydney was one of the three youngest competitors and finishing in the top ten was something we are very proud of her for," said her mother, Christy McMillan.

Father, Roy McMillan said, "Not only are we proud of her performance but her great attitude and sportsmanship. We plan on being back next year."

McMillan finished with an 8-foot 6-inch jump which is below her personal best but still enough to get her recognized.

"I was disappointed with how the day went and that I did not reach my personal best. I will improve and I will try again. I plan on being on the awards podium next time," she said.