The spotlight of the Vermilion girls track program is focused on Hannah Bartlome.
She’s been All-Ohio (top eight) five times for outdoor track and won the state indoor high jump title this winter. And the graduation of Emily Cunningham magnified her role on the team.
If anyone is up to the task, it’s Bartlome.
There’s no doubt she’s talented. She’s also well-grounded.
More photos below.
Bartlome, a junior, appreciates her track roots. She’s wearing Cunningham’s jersey No. 205 from last year as a tribute and for good luck. Bartlome wore No. 203 the last two seasons.
“Emily always wanted a state championship,” Bartlome said. “Since she never could quite get first in that jersey, the torch is passed on to me.”
Cunningham was All-Ohio 11 times for her career, highlighted by second-place state finishes in the 400-meter relay in 2012 and the 200 in 2010. She is now a sprinter for the University of Cincinnati.
“Emily’s a neat athlete and she’s one of my best friends, too, so I wanted to honor her in that way,” said Bartlome, 5-foot-7, 125 pounds.
And Bartlome understands what it takes to overcome adversity.
Two days after the school year ended in June, she had a devastating accident. She suffered a severe laceration to the inside of her right knee while on a family vacation and required 16-18 stitches. She also had a partially torn meniscus and chipped tibia.
“My surgeon said I would be out for four months,” Bartlome said. “When I came home I cried the rest of the night. I couldn’t believe that that happened.
“But the time went by fast. I was finally cleared for practice at the beginning of October, so about a month earlier than the doctors expected. It was bad, but not as bad as I’d thought it would be.”
Her hard work in rehab paid off. Bartlome helped the Vermilion basketball team (14-11 overall) to its first district final since 1994-95 as the No. 2 scorer — 12.7 points, along with 2.9 assists and 2.8 steals per game.
“The rehabilitation was rough, especially at the beginning,” she said. “I was on crutches for the first month. I had to sit there with my knee propped up in a chair all day. The hardest part was missing AAU basketball season with my teammates. I went to one tournament with my team in Louisville. I had to sit there on the bench. It was difficult. It was devastating.
“I had to miss high school soccer season but was ready in time to start training for basketball. The doctor was being extra cautious and wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to heal. Since I missed soccer season I trained extra hard for basketball.”
Bartlome transitioned quickly from basketball to indoor track.
Two weeks after Vermilion lost to Holy Name in the district final, she won the Division II-III state indoor high jump title March 16 at the University of Akron’s Stile Field House with a jump of 5-4.
“High jump is our main focus and our goal is getting a state championship,” Vermilion coach Kristy Edmison said. “When she goes to college she’s considering becoming a pentathlete. She’s an amazing athlete. This season during some of our dual meets she’s going to do some unconventional things. She wants to get some marks in those other events to help her with the recruiting process.
“Ultimately, when we get to the big meets the focus will be on her high jumping, long jumping and sprinting. In the dual meets we’re going to try an open 800 and maybe hurdles if she’s comfortable with them.”
Last year, Bartlome was second at state outdoors (5-4) and indoors (5-6) in the high jump. She tied the school record of 5-8 at the New London Relays.
“One of my goals since last season was to come back to the state meet and win high jump,” she said. “My goal is also to try and qualify in long jump. I’m not as talented in that event, but I’m training hard this season to turn that around.”
Vermilion has had only one girls outdoor state track champ — Maureen Mason in the Class AA high jump at 5-4 in 1975.
Maintaining the team tradition for relays is also paramount. The program has produced five state-qualifying relays the last four years. Four earned All-Ohio.
Seniors AuBree LaForce and Mallory Morris and junior Abbey Bodeker also return.
Last year, Bartlome and Morris were on the 800- and 400-meter relays. Bodeker, Bartlome and Morris teamed with Cunningham for second at state in the 400 (48.81). LaForce, Bartlome and Morris combined with Cunningham for third in the 800 (1:41.79).
“It’s very difficult when you graduate someone like Emily because she was such a huge part of the track team and the relays,” said Bartlome, who has a 3.65 grade-point average. “We have to look past that. The Emily Cunningham era is over. We can’t dwell on the ‘what-ifs’ if we lose a relay race. We can still be phenomenal in sprint relay.”
The Vermilion girls were tested early last year. Cunningham went down with a joint injury to her right foot in a dual meet with Rocky River and missed three weeks.
“It was a good preview,” Bartlome said. “The beginning of the season last year without Emily we knew that that was going to be next year. Every time we ran without Emily we knew we had to push even harder.
“Without Emily this year we’re going to have to train harder, work harder and run faster if we want to fill in the void.”
Contact Paul Heyse at 329-7135 or email@example.com.