There were many great performances in Jamestown, Kan., on Saturday, Oct. 6, but two young pole-vaulters soared waaay over their previous best marks at the Doctoberfest festival, held at the Tailwind Pole Vault Club.
To mark their great achievements, Mackenzie Van Pelt, of Beloit, Kan., and Thomas Mick, Carleton, Neb., received the club’s first-ever “Maggie Awards.”
The award is named for Maggie Steele, the heroine in Maggie Vaults Over the Moon, the young adult novel about pole-vaulting written by Grant Overstake, published by GO Team! Enterprises, and available at Amazon.com.
“These two came to Doctoberfest today eager to have a great time doing what they love to do, which is pole-vaulting,” Overstake said. “Because of their zeal for the sport and their courage to vault to new heights, they wound up far exceeding their PRs [personal records]. We wanted to create an award that recognizes this type of can-do attitude because it’s the same type of attitude that propels Maggie Steele to greatness.”
According to Tailwind Coach Mark Breault, attitude is everything in the sport of pole-vaulting.
“What you saw today was that these kids were coming in to have some fun,” Breault said. “They weren’t pressuring themselves to do anything big and wound up having a great day.”
Breault, who has coached more than 160 vaulters to the Kansas State High School Track and Field Championship meet in the past decade, says some pole-vaulters get frustrated too soon, and it keeps them from soaring as high as Maggie Steele, who always vaults with a great attitude.
“I’ll hear some vaulters say, well, ‘I’ll be happy as soon as I start vaulting better,’ and I say, ‘No, it’s the other way around. If you’re happy and having a good time, you’ll always vault higher,'” Breault added.
A great attitude on Saturday helped the first-ever Maggie Award winners soar waaay higher than they thought they could.
Mackenzie came into Doctoberfest with a best vault of 7-feet, 7-inches, and vaulted 5 inches higher than ever before, clearing 8 feet!
Thomas had a personal best of 8 feet prior to Saturday’s contest, and soared a full foot higher, clearing 9 feet!
Meyer Soars to Building Record!
In all, some 60 vaulters from grade school to post-college showed up for the sixth annual Doctoberfest event. The highlight of the meet was a new high school building record set by defending Kansas State Class 5A Champion Nick Meyer, a senior at Bishop Carroll in Wichita, who leaped all the way up into a tie for the #5 spot on the all-time boys’ pole vault list last spring, clearing 16-feet, 7-inches.
Meyer soared 16-2 in a chilly (60 degrees) building on Saturday, beating the previous building record of 16-1, set by Casey Bowen two years ago.
Meyer’s vault was an amazing achievement, considering that the runway at the Jamestown facility is only 75 feet long, requiring vaulters to run from a shortened approach. According to Breault, many college and professionals who’ve jumped over 16 feet at the facility have gone on to vault as high as two feet higher with a full-run approach outdoors.
“I think we can expect to see some big vaults in Kansas this year,” Breault said.
After his record-setting vault, the high-flying Meyer spent time encouraging younger vaulters in attendance, and said he was eager to read Maggie Vaults Over the Moon, the new novel about a high school pole-vaulter named Maggie Steele, on sale now!