It take away a special kind of human being to pole vault — one who is distinct athletically and mentally.

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"Really, us say you"re not a true pole vaulter till you crash and then walk again," harbor Huron north boys track coach Craig Dickinson said. "That"s as soon as you understand you"ve gained someone, once something bad happens and they"re able come get ago onto the track and go."

Physically, it takes the same kind of qualities to pole vault as it does most other sports – speed, strength, technique.

But pole vaulters should possess something much more to it is in successful: a mentality that allows them to run full speed through a 10-14 foot pole in their hands, plunge it right into a box and use it to propel them more than 10 feet in the air, upside down.


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"It seems favor you recognize within a couple of practices if they have it," stated Jerry Wesley, who has actually been grooming pole vaulters in the area for practically two decades. "The kid has to have that in them. There"s something built into a kid, and you have the right to see it in them within the an initial three practices.

"Having recognized so countless elite athletes and Michigan and also Michigan State and other colleges, you have actually a 25-foot lengthy jumper or one All-American hurdler, and also they come end to clock the pole vault. They"re sitting around saying, "Man, they"re crazy. How might they perform that?" ns look at those kids and also think, "Man, if I could get a pole in your hands and see if they have actually that ability, they can be All-America vaulters."

"But they"ve almost told me, in a way, that they can"t perform it, or don"t want to do it."


The Blue Water Area has had actually quite a run of athletes v a great mix of that mentality and also physical ability, as state championships in the pole vault have actually become practically an yearly occurrence. Due to the fact that 2007, the area has claimed seven pole vault state championships – Joe Wesley and also Jaime Salisbury of naval City each winner two, while naval City"s Tori Wesley, Algonac"s Mitchell Mueller and also Port Huron Northern"s Mackenzie Shell have each winner one – and also several other All-State finishes.


That"s a great run that athletes through the ideal mentality. However it likewise suggests the people in charge right here are doing a an excellent job.

"Honestly, i think it"s simply the coaching," stated Northern an elderly Ryan Hunt, who, through a personal best of 14 feet, 6 inches, numbers to contend for a state location of his own this season. "Coach Wesley, he to be a great coach. Mr. Mueller, he to know a lot around pole vaulting, and coach Dickinson is likewise a great coach."


Hunt has actually turned right into a peak prep pole vaulter, but he admits the didn"t prefer it at first. The wasn"t therefore much about fear, though.

"I started getting better at it, therefore it began to get much more and more fun," he said. "At first, friend don"t get really high, so it"s no really scary. It"s sort of a slow progression to where you start obtaining super high and also you don"t really think around it."

Dickinson said component of the cultivate he has actually his vaulters go with is gaining used to being in those positions.

"There"s an innate thing of hazard taking – gift upside down is no a typical thing," Dickinson said. "Being 14 feet upside down v your head under you is not normal. It takes part time, but we perform a most gymnastic-type things in the weight room where they"re swinging upside down, things favor that.

"It"s something friend teach, however it absolutely helps if they already have several of that."


Shell – that is the state document holder and has signed to vault in ~ Oklahoma – has a gymnastics background, as does Northern"s No. 2 girl vaulter, Sophie Jackson. Due to the fact that of that, Shell claimed pole vaulting never was something that intimidated her.

"I contrasted it come gymnastics and gymnastics was yes, really scary," she said. "Now, I"m still not scared the I"m going come crash, but I have to be i was sure to do the bar."

Wesley claimed Shell was one he might see had actually it best away.

"She sees Tori jumping, and also she was a small kid coming to check out Joe jump, and she didn"t understand that she couldn"t do what us were informing her come do," Wesley said. "We"ve seen it in her, and I don"t prefer to say fearless or thrill seeker, but it"s in her. I observed that in Jaime, too. The wasn"t playing baseball or basketball in fourth or 5th grade, that was the end there on his motocross bike, jumping hills. He had actually it in him, plus that feeling of balance and also awareness."


Shell likewise has the body type Wesley stated is more in line with the elite vaulters – long and also lean. Hunt and Mueller would also fit into that category.

When it involves high school vaulters, Dickinson claimed there isn"t a body form that that looks because that in a vaulter. At greater levels, however, Wesley said that, if there are exceptions, the world"s top best fit that long and also lean profile.

"Tori and also Joe had actually some limits," Wesley said. "There"s part freaks, a guy named Greg Duplantis was at 19-4, a people class pole vaulter and also he"s 5-4. His kid has collection the people record because that his age, he"s 14 year old jumping 16 or 17 feet, and also he"s small. Everybody else is lean, tall and also thin.

"Tori and also Joe are doing not have the height. Jaime has actually the speed, but is lacking the height. If you put that speed and acrobatic ability into a child that"s 6-2 or 6-4, you"ve obtained that formula appropriate there."

They"d likewise need the mentality, both come vault, and work hard sufficient to grasp it.

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"It"s a tough event," Dickinson said. "It takes a the majority of time and a lot of work. They"re the last kids out over there at every practice."

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