Explaining the Pole Vault

SHERIDAN — The pole vault requires a unique set of skills.

Quality vaulters likely possess quickness and strength but have also practiced the event ad infinitum to hone the technique. The event contains several distinct phases and countless variables to master.

“There are a lot of things that can go wrong,” Sheridan High School freshman vaulter Ryan Karajanis said.

The modern version of the pole vault originated in the 1800s from practicality. In parts of Europe — mostly the wetter areas of England — residents used poles to propel themselves safely over water and other natural barriers. Italian gondoliers also utilized poles to help move their boats to and from landing spots.

In competitions, athletes have three attempts to clear the pole vault bar at each height. They are out once they record three consecutive misses. The athlete who clears the highest mark wins. If multiple vaulters have the same height, a series of tiebreakers occurs to determine the winner. The Wyoming high school record is 16 feet, 0.5 inches for boys and 12 feet for girls.

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