It was three years ago when Perham track and field coaches tried to introduce the pole vault to Ashley Hokanson, then a freshman. She had been a gymnast and a diver, so the transition was pretty fitting.

Hokanson took one look at it was said nope.

“I was really scared,” Hokanson said. “I looked at all the pictures of pole vaulters and they’re upside down over the box and cement. What if the pole breaks? How does this happen? I was really scared.”

Things have changed a bit in the three years since. Hokanson is headed to her final state meet as the top seed in the pole vault, looking to repeat as a state champion. She’s headed to North Dakota State for pole vault. She even just got two ducklings and named them Spirit and Essx after pole brands.

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