Devin King reaches top of historic mountain in pole vault with new national record

It was time to roll out the heavy artillery.

Devin King knew it, and so did his coach.

Facing a third and possibly final try at a national record, the Kentwood, La., pole vaulter reached for a longer pole to give him the edge in his battle with the crossbar. Already the 2014 national leader at 17 feet, 8 inches, King soared over the bar at 17-10.25 before celebrating the new all-time indoor best.

“We have been practicing on bigger poles,” said the winner, who outdistanced the competition by more than 16 inches. “It really takes a lot of speed and strength to get on them. We knew that it was the key to jump 17-10 or 18 feet, so we have been focusing on bigger poles. It worked.”

Erica Bertolina, King’s coach and a 2008 Olympian in the pole vault, said the success that the Southeastern Louisiana signee achieved today on a longer pole will come in handy when the outdoor season begins.

“That was a big adjustment for him,” Bertolina said of using longer poles. “We tried to do that a few weeks ago, and it was a little bit rough.

“Today, he didn’t have a choice. He had to go to a longer pole. It worked pretty well for him today.”

When King entered the competition at 16-2, only five other vaulters were still alive. His third consecutive first-try over at 16-10 guaranteed the senior of the indoor national title, and then he turned his attention to breaking records.

Prior to surpassing Andrew Irwin’s US indoor record of 17-9.75 from 2011, King raised the meet record to 17-6 with a substantial clearance.

“I felt pretty confident in jumping 17-6,” he said. “I cleared on the first attempt.

“I’ve jumped 17-8 so that’s old news. 17-10, I was exhausted but happy. I’ve been over it at meets, and I haven’t gotten it. So I feel relief at getting it now. I feel great.”

Bertolina noted that minor adjustments in King’s approach, coupled with the longer pole, paid immediate dividends on the record clearance.

“I adjusted his run so he had a little bit more room coming in to the takeoff, and it helped him move the pole better,” she said. “Obviously, that’s the adjustment that he needed because he had the height. (He) just didn’t leave the bar up.”

King’s afternoon finally came to an end with three solid attempts at 18-0 but not before he complimented his coach for her part in having his name in the national record book.

“She’s taught me everything I’ve known,” King said of Bertolina’s importance in his rapid development in just over three years in the event. “She’s a major role in my life. I thank God for her.

“She’s a great coach. Everything I do comes from her.”

Jonathan Denby of Carlinville, Ill., claimed the silver with a 16-6 clearance (US #9), while Noah Gilfillan of Corsicana, Texas, was third at 16-2 and Todd Uckermark of Warwick, NY, also cleared 16-2 for fourth.



Championship Boys Pole Vault (View Official Results)

M Pole Vault – Finals
Place Overall Athlete Team Result Heat
1 1 King, Devin Sumner 17-10.25 1
2 2 Denby, Jack Carlinville High School 16-06.00 1
3 3 Gilfillan, Noah Corsicana 16-02.00 1
4 4 Uckermark, Todd Warwick Valley 16-02.00 1
5 5 Williams, Harrison Memphis University School 15-10.00 1
6 6 Deutmeyer, James Fordham Prep 15-10.00 1
7 7 McAdams, Gabe Keller 15-04.25 1
8 8 Dibona, Derek Warwick Valley 15-04.25 1
9 9 Gorski, Cole Otsego 15-04.25 1
10 9 Lankes, Justin Ravenwood High School 15-04.25 1
11 11 Kiles, August Tamalpais High (NC) 15-04.25 1
12 12 Annichiarico, Luke Northern Valley HS – Old Tappan 14-10.25 1
13 13 DeVries, Joe Apex 14-10.25 1
14 14 Altland, Dylan Kingsway HS 14-10.25 1
15 15 Fast, Alex Eaton Rapids 14-10.25 1
16 16 Wilkes, Ryan Valley View 14-10.25 1
17 17 Fogarasi, Joseph Windham High School 14-10.25 1
18 17 Stacy, Brandon Caravel Academy 14-10.25 1
19 19 Ginley, Corey East Henderson 14-04.50 1
20 20 Benz, Michael 14-04.50 1
21 20 Fountain, Travis Monroe-Woodbury 14-04.50 1
22 20 Hutchinson, Kyle Claggett MS 14-04.50 1
23 23 Gertler, Abe Madison HS 14-04.50 1




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