People who see Zach Reed’s backyard instantly realize the extent of his love of pole vaulting.
The Festus senior has a full vaulting area behind his house, complete with runway and landing mats.
“It comes in handy when I can’t get over to the school,” Reed said. “If they’re having a soccer game or something on the field, we can still practice.”
Having a place to work on his craft obviously has helped Reed. He’s developed into one of the top vaulters in the state. He recently had a 15-foot, 3-inch effort at the MICDS Vaulters and Throwers Meet, which is the best in the area.
“That was a good start,” Reed said of the jump, which destroyed his old school record of 14-6, which he did last season.
Reed went even higher in the indoor season. He had a 15-6 effort at the Big River/Mizzou High School Indoor Series in Columbia.
“That was pretty cool, because I was going up against guys who are not just from Missouri,” he said. “There were guys from Arkansas, Kansas, Minnesota and Illinois, too.”
Reed, who was excited to do so well at MICDS because he competed in front of former Olympians Jeff Hartwig and Earl Bell, was disappointed that he didn’t perform well at state last year. He only could muster a 13-6 effort, which didn’t get him a medal.
“I don’t know what exactly happened,” Reed said. “I was doing great up until state. I didn’t do what I needed to do. It was disappointing. But I’m looking to make up for it this year.”
Festus coach Chris Partney thinks Reed will shine in Jefferson City this year.
“His mindset, his confidence, is much better,” Partney said. “He wants to go up there and show everybody what he should have done last year and what he’s capable of.”
Reed’s father, Mike, is the pole vault coach at Festus. He competed in the event for Herculaneum High and Southeast Missouri State University.