Craig Hunter of Robbinsville wasted little time between jumps in achieving his meet record vault of 16-0 to win the pole vault at the Meet of Champions for the second straight year.
Just two minutes after brushing his arm on the way down of his first attempt at 16-0, Hunter easily cleared it on a second try, tying his personal record of 16-0 set in January at the Mercer County championships.
“When I get in a rhythm, I like to be back up there bang, bang, bang,” said Hunter, who will matriculate to UConn next fall. “Last year, I won at 14-6, but with other people pushing me today, made me go higher.”
Nick Eckett of Jackson Liberty was second at 15-0 and Peter Fagan of Westfield was third, also at 15-0, as three vaulters cleared 15-0 or better for the first time in meet history.
“This bubble is a tough place to jump,” said Hunter. “It’s nerve-racking. It’s more stressful than nationals because you’re on the big stage here in Jersey. So I’m happy with what I accomplished today.”
Hunter subsequently missed all three attempts at 16-5, a metric five meters which is used in collegiate vaulting.
Earlier this winter, Hunter’s 15-6 was a meet record at the Group 2 championships.
“I changed coaches this year and it’s helped me monumentally,” Hunter said. “A lot of it is technique and working on short steps. The coach is confident in me and I feel confident when he’s there. My goals indoors and outdoors are to go after state records.”