Arizona has a long history of fine boys’ high school pole vaulting, with over 30 vaulters going 16 or higher. 6 top coaches have steered the course of Arizona on the national stage. Arizona entered the national stage in a big way in 1957, with Jim Brewer. Sports Illustrated did an article on him.
North High School’s Jim Brewer set a national record; state record and became the first high schooler to clear 15-0. Brewer used an aluminum pole. This is the only vault national record out of Arizona. Brewer’s state record was broken 11 years later (1968) when Manual Gonzales increased the record by nine inches. The first big time Arizona coach made his appearance in 1988, Cranston Hysong coached at Tolleson High school. He coached twins Lance and Lane White. Hysong made sure the bar was set one inch higher than Gonzales’ state record and Lane White cleared it vaulting 15-10.
Lane and Lance had competition again from North High; this time from Todd Lehman. 1988 was the first year for 16 vaulters in Arizona with Todd clearing 16-6 (5.03m). Lane’s brother Lance equaled the height giving Lance and Todd the state record. Cranston Hysong had a set of twins that both set state records in 1988. Lane finished out the season as the third Arizona vaulter over 16 finishing with a 16-3. Lehman went on the star at USC and now has a national reputation as a vault coach, currently at Paradise Valley Community College and Grand Canyon College.
Cranston Hysong’s vault dynasty continued with his son Nick two years later in 1990 setting a new Arizona Record of 17-4 ½. This is still the Arizona record today. Nick went on the win the 2000 Olympics and currently coaches in Phoenix. Two years later Cranston had another top vaulter with Chris Chancey clearing 16-2. But in the small school Payson High, Don Reid’s vaulter Bo Altoff cleared 16-5 ½. Tucson joined the vault list in 1994 with Dominic Johnson clearing 16-1 vaulting for Amphitheater High School. Dominic was from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.
After high school set a PR of 5.61 in 1999. A new vault superstar coach, Joe Sullivan made his mark in 1994 with his vaulter Dason Phelps representing Mountain View clearing 16-3. In 1996 Mark Hilliker of Westwood had his 16 vaulter with Danny Brinerhoff clearing 16-0. Two 16 footers happened in 1997; one from the east side of the valley and one from the west side. Trent Powell cleared the third best all time vault with a 16-8 ¾ vault for Highland High School. Trent went on to BYU and had a PR of 17-10. On the west side of town Apollo Coach Frank McGee’s son Justin cleared 16-0. The last 16 footers of the century happened in 1998 and were from the east side of town.
Highland had it’s second 16 footer with Trent’s brother Blake clearing 16-1. Corona Del Sol’s Mike Mortenson also cleared 16-1. The 12 years of this century have seen 15 Arizonan’s over 16. Joe Sullivan had another 16 footer at Mountain View with Tod Rodembaugh clearing 16′ ½. Cranston Hysong was still in the game moving to Westview high school, with a vaulter making the first 16 plus vault of this century. In 2003 Brandon Glenn cleared a huge 16*8 ¾ .
Glenn is now coaching with Nick Hysong. Also from the west side of town, Stephen Dolk of Ironwood cleared 16-6. Cranston Hysong dominated the 80’s and 90’s and moved on to Glendale Community College. The high school vacuum was filled with Coach Jeff Guy from Desert Vista High. His first appearance was in 2006 when Dutch Perryman cleared 16-1. The following year, 2007 Guy coached Shea Kearney cleared 16-4 ¾. By now, Todd Lehman and Greg Hull’s Kiss the Sky club was going full bore. Lehman coached Jeremy Lashinske vaulting for Brophy cleared 16′ in 2007. Guy was back in 2009 with Alec Hsu who cleared 16-1 for Desert Vista.
A Westsider slipped into the 16 footers to start out the current decade 2010 with Riley Crosby from Centennial vaulting 16-2. Cranston’s son Olympic Champ Nick had his vault club up and running by this time and his product Alex Bishop of Brophy went 16-4 ¾. In 2011 Paul Corona from Yuma, who traveled as often as he could to Todd Lehman, cleared 16-1 for Yuma Catholic. Joe Sullivan’s Mountain View vaulters came through in 2011 too with Jake Jarvis vaulting 16-0. 2012’s top vaulters were products of Nick Hysong and another top national vaulter who started his pole vault club, Dean Starkey.
Starkey’s son Garret cleared the second best Arizona vault, 17-2 for Basha High. Starkey’s other star junior Nathan Hiett cleared 16-2. Hysong countered with his athlete representing Brophy junior Cole Walsh who went 16-5 and representing Horizon Grant Sisserson clearing 16-2.
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