Adam Coulon is a young pole vaulter who literally is on the rise.
The 14-year-old eighth grader from Tri-Valley (Downs, Ill.) already has cleared an amazing 15 feet this spring. Last year he set a world record for 13-year-olds when he vaulted 14 feet, 6 inches.
The world record for age 14 is 15-7, shared by two foreign vaulters from the late 1980s. The American record for age 14 is 15-6 by Kelly Stephens of Houston, in 2000. Stephens was a freshman at the time. The record for an eighth grader, according to national track expert Jack Shepard, is 15-5 by Tommy Skipper of Sandy, Ore., in 1998. Skipper went on to set the national high school record which still stands at 18-3.
Coulon, who has been vaulting since fifth grade, told MaxPreps, “I’d like to get 15-8 (this year).”
Competing for the Flying Dragons Pole Vault Club of Normal, Ill., and his junior high, Coulon admitted that when he reached 15 feet, “I couldn’t believe I made it. It was a cold day and I was sick.”
The 5-foot-9, 143-pounder had hoped to reach or top 15 feet on Saturday during the 81st Illinois Elementary School Association Class AA state track meet in East Peoria, Ill. However, he strained his hamstring while running the 110-meter low hurdles during Friday’s preliminaries.
“It felt good in warmups,” Coulon related. “But I just couldn’t get the speed. I’m satisfied and surprised that I even made 14-6.”
His effort still was good enough to shatter his own state record of 13-2 which he set as a seventh grader.
National pole vault expert Greg Duplantis, who watched Coulon at the annual Reno, Nev., Pole Vault Summit, says he “certainly looks really good. He’s got a good build for it. I was really impressed with him at Reno.”
By Dave Krider