MUSKEGON, MI – The city beach in Grand Haven is a big draw in the summer.

That’s going to spill over to the world of pole vaulting on Friday and Saturday.

The odd combination will be part of the scenery when the 12th annual beach vault returns to Grand Haven.

Hundreds of pole vaulters, ranging from West Michigan standouts to national-caliber athletes, are expected to participate. A runway, takeoff area and landing pit for two jumps are constructed on top of the sand and near the water.

“Nobody does a beach vault like we do. Nobody sets up in the middle of the beach like we do,” said Dave Emeott, East Kentwood’s track coach and one of the event organizers.

“We have people come from California, sit on the beach and say this could be the ocean. At least (the water) is not salty. It’s better.”

About 300 pole vaulters from the U.S. and Canada are expected to compete in front of a crowd of 2,000-3,000 spectators, Emeott said.

The event is in front of the Bil Mar Restaurant and free to spectators.

Among the top men’s vaulters expected to compete are Mike Arnold, a Division I All-American at Idaho State, and Sean Young, a graduate of the University of South Florida.

In the women’s field are Katie Nageotte, the Division II national champion last year at Ashland, and South Carolina standout Angie Rummans.

“The field of competition is as strong as anywhere in the country,” Emeott said. “From the elite and high school kids right on down. Even the 14-and-under is pretty tough.”

The competition begins at 10 a.m. Friday and the elite men’s and women’s vaulters will compete at about 4 p.m. Saturday’s action starts at 9:30 a.m. with the high school jumpers to begin about 3 p.m.

A new wrinkle added this year is an exhibition-style event on the streets of downtown Grand Rapids on Wednesday.

Action for about 40 top jumpers will take place at the intersection of Ottawa and Fulton streets from noon to 7 p.m. The elite athletes are scheduled to jump starting at 5 p.m.


 Beach Vault Vaulter Magazine

Beach Vault Vaulter Magazine

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