Bianca Briggs / Lantern photographer
The first Arnold Track and Field Championships, held in Ohio State’s French Field House, brought in 1,600 athletes from more than 80 Ohio high schools and just fewer than 1,000 spectators.
Halfway through the event, the Arnold Sports Festival’s founders, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jim Lorimer, stopped by the event.
Schwarzenegger gave a short speech to the attending athletes, accepted a personalized OSU jersey and awarded the Columbus Rotary college scholarship winner.
Stephanie Loshbough, a junior at Johnstown High School, won one of the 10 $2,000 scholarships being awarded during the festival.
“They called me on Thursday and told me I won the scholarship, which was exciting in itself,” Loshbough said. “Then, they told me Arnold would be handing me the scholarship.”
When she got to the event, she heard Arnold wasn’t coming at all.
“I kind of got disappointed and then found out he really was coming, and got nervous all over again,” Loshbough said.
One of the main reasons for Schwarzenegger’s and Lorimer’s appearance was to see the Uhle brothers pole vault.
Twin brothers Chris and Joey Uhle, seniors at Olentangy Liberty High School, hold state and national records for indoor and outdoor pole vault.
The brothers both agreed that not only was this a “great moment” for them, but they were more nervous to jump in front of Schwarzenegger than to meet him face to face.
With the bar set at 15 feet, the boys jumped for Schwarzenegger, Lorimer and everyone else in the French Field House.
“They just told us we were up. I was so numb for the jump. Just the crowd in general, surrounding us, made it so intense,” Chris said. “We did not have a chance to warm up. We just went and jumped.”
Later that day, Joey broke the indoor pole vault state record twice. The previous record, which he held, was 16’8″. He vaulted and cleared 16’10” and then 17’3″. Joey tried going for the indoor pole vault national record at 17’6.75″, but was an arm hit away.
While their father is an OSU alumnus, Chris is going to further his pole vaulting career at Virginia Tech and Joey will be continuing his by going into the Air Force.
This event was also a last-chance qualifier for Ohio high school athletes to qualify to compete in the OATCCC Ohio State Indoor Track & Field Championship, which is being held March 19 at the Louis and Freda Stile Athletics Field House in Akron, Ohio.
“(It) was more about athletes getting their best time, best height, or best throw in to help them qualify,” Baldwin said.
Schwarzenegger was surprised by the overall outcome of the event.
“Being the first annual Track and Field Championship,” Schwarzenegger said, “this is beyond what we ever thought it would be.”