Running down a runway that is at least 40 meters long, planting a stick in a box that is 60 centimeters wide in the front before attempting to scale a crossbar that is 4.5 meters wide at an increasingly difficult height is a skill few field athletes might want to try, let alone an ability any might relish.

Yet because of several factors—excellent coaching technique, outstanding athleticism, and mental toughness among others—the Battlefield Bobcats have dominated the pole-vaulting landscape at the Class 6 state meet in both indoor and outdoor meets, winning eight boys and girls titles since 2015.

Battlefield pole vaulting coach Ken Harrison, whose daughter Emily is a former four-time state champion in the event for the Bobcats and is now vaulting at Rice University, said he is grateful to both Battlefield track coach Jarrette Marley for “funneling me great athletes” and his partners at Prince William Pole Vaulting (Osbourn Park pole vaulting coach Jerry McEvoy and Forest Park pole vaulting coach Jim Shotwell) for mentoring him and encouraging him to enhance his coaching skills through certification programs.

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