At first, Christian Champen didn’t think of himself as a pole vaulter.

Instead of flinging himself into the air using a fiberglass pole, Champen spent his time glued to the ground as a member of Northmont Middle School’s cross country team.

That all changed, however, on a dare from his teammate.

It was in the middle of one his team’s practice that he was dared by a teammate to try the pole vault. Champen — as any middle school boy would — took his teammate up on the bet and vaulted himself more than seven feet in the air.

“You’re a pole vaulter now,” his teammates chuckled to him.

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