Dexter state champion is headed to Michigan State University


Sophia Mettes was a state champion for Dexter. photo courtesy of Bill Sheldon

Excited and proud is how Dexter’s Sophia Mettes describes signing with Michigan State University.

She’s reached awesome heights in high school as a pole vaulting champion and now she’s looking forward to what comes next in college.

“I feel beyond excited and proud that I have had the opportunity to be in contact with and receive an offer from MSU jumps coach, Ceith Creekmur, and I’m excited to further both my academic and athletic pursuits at Michigan State University,” Mettes told The Sun Times News.

Choosing to be a Spartan as a student-athlete is a good fit for her in many ways.

“Michigan State University and its pole vault team have always stood out to me, and my visit back in October of 2021 sparked my interest in its dietetics/nutritional science program and pole vaulting,” she said looking back.

She said she was fortunate enough to get the chance to speak with Jill DeJager, the Academic Specialist, Dietetics Advisor and Instructor at MSU. They talked about all of the opportunities that the program offers and how MSU prepares students for success after college.

“Along with having the opportunity to talk with Ms. DeJager, I was fortunate enough to really get to know Michigan State’s jump coach, Coach Creekmur, and some of his athletes,” she said of her visit.

Her two student-athlete hosts and MSU pole vault athletes that helped guide her through the visit were Sophia Franklin and Calli Ostapowicz. She said during her time with them, she was not only able to discuss Michigan State’s Track and Field program, but also follow along with them and see what practice is like for an MSU pole vault athlete.

“I instantly fell in love with the bond between the athletes, trainers, and coaches,” she said. “On top of all of this, the academic support offered to student-athletes at Michigan State captured my interest. It was very comforting to hear how seriously academics are taken there.”

photo courtesy of Dexter Athletics

Looking back at her time with Dexter, she said some of the highlights from high school competition include placing first at the MHSAA 2021 State Championship meet and getting the opportunity to travel to new states like North Carolina and Oregon to compete at national level competitions.

However, one of her biggest highlights, though, was getting a season to practice and compete her junior year, after having sophomore year canceled due to Covid-19.

The hard work and dedication has led to success and it’s leading to even more opportunities.

“I definitely feel like the hard work and time that I put into this sport has paid off now that I get to pursue my athletic career at a collegiate level, but the support system that I was fortunate enough to have behind me the whole time has also led me to this moment,” said Mettes. “Although my self-discipline has grown tremendously, and I have worked hard to get where I am now, those who have supported me, behind the scenes, have made all of the hard work more rewarding and possible.”

She said there are too many people to name who have assisted her through her failures and triumphs not only in pole vault but also in life.

However, there are some people along the way who standout.

“To name a few people I would like to thank, I’ll start with my parents, who have supported me in each and every aspect of my life,” she said.

Special thanks go to her sister, Josie, who competed by her side for the past few years, and who she said consistently pushed her to higher heights when vaulting.

“I would also like to give thanks to Coach Geoff and Coach Janell Gerstner: the coaching duo that worked behind the scenes to not only help me flourish but to help every other Dexter pole vault athlete do the same,” she said. “The Gerstners are the most amazing pole vault coaches anyone could have ever asked for.”

Along with her pole vault coaches, she also thanks her weight lifting and conditioning coaches; “better known as Andrew and Lindsay Ludlow for providing me with training when I am off of the pole vault pits, and for supporting me throughout my vaulting journey.”

“Lastly, I want to thank all of my track and field coaches and teammates for making track and field such an enjoyable sport,” she said. “I can’t thank each and every one of these individuals enough. Their dedication to my life whether they realize it or not has contributed to who I am today. They have strengthened me both physically and mentally. They have pushed me to be the best I can be, but most importantly, they helped me get back on my feet when I struggled, and have been instrumental in my successes.”

Much of what she takes with her to MSU was learned in Dexter.

“The three big things that really stand out to me in the years that I have competed for Dexter are the positive environment, my teammates, and our coaches,” she said. “The uplifting and inclusive atmosphere I have been part of is unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. In every event, each individual puts in their best effort to benefit the whole team. No matter if Dexter is winning or losing, the track and field team supports each other, and that is something that has always stood out to me about our team.”

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