Tim Patrick stood on the runway of the pole vault pit at Jacksonville Landing in Jacksonville, at the JAC Street Vault. With his pole firm in his hand, Tim took a deep breath, eyeing nothing but the pit. As he took one more breath, he gently raised his pole off the ground. He took half a step back and then began running forward toward the pit. At the precise moment, he stuck his pole in the box, and launched himself into the air. He went up, over the bar, and came down hard onto the pit.
Tim Patrick just tied the school record.
Footballs and Poles
Senior track & field pole-vaulter Tim Patrick of Flagler Palm Coast High School continues to surprise people. He’s one of the Bulldog’s top athletes in track, and he doesn’t even run. Just a few years ago, no one imagined that Tim would reach the heights that he has already.
Tim had no prior experience to pole vaulting or the track & field scene. When he was younger, Tim played football through his middle school years alongside current FPC football player, Jake Dempsey. After the fall football season was over, Tim didn’t participate in track like many of his teammates had. When he did the following year however, he began to show promise.
“I came into track wanting to do the hurdles,” said Tim. It’s obvious now that this idea never took form. Tim instead tried pole vault, as well as high jump and long jump. Tim long jumped once, and high jumped three times. After a few attempts, Tim recognized that he wasn’t a jumper.
Tim’s first vault was at the East Coast Classic, hosted at Flagler Palm Coast
High School. Tim cleared a height of 10 feet in the pole vault, placing ninth overall. Over the next few meets, Tim bounced around 11 feet and then 11 feet, 6 inches.
Most people think that big moments come at big meets. Most think that those would be the most meaningful to an individual. Tim takes pride in his small achievement, and humble beginning. “I won my first event at Freshman/Sophomore,” Tim recalled. “I got a PR and set a meet record of 12 feet.” Tim also takes pride in the fact that his meet record still stands, though it’s been almost two years.
Tim qualified out of districts to the region meet, but could not participate because he broke his finger.
As Tim continued to prove that he could be one of the best, he officially became part of Flagler’s “Vault Squad.”
As his sophomore year was coming to its conclusion, Tim had a tough decision to make. It was either the usual football and then track, or just track.
Tim chose the pole.
“I let it go to focus on track,” said Tim. Tim opened the season with a vault of 11 feet, 11.75 inches. He continued to hover around 11 feet and 10 feet. He caught a small break at the 7th Annual Spruce Creek Invitational, where he cleared a height of 12-6, winning the event. He then began hovering again, but around 12-6 and 13 feet.
At the Flagler Pinnacle Classic, Tim broke even. Clearing his then-best height of 13-6, he got the hang of clearing 13 feet orbetter every time he vaulted. “I tend to do better when there’s a lot of people watching,” says Tim. Tim would clear 13-6 again at the region meet, earning him a trip to the state meet, where he cleared a height of 13-3, finishing fifth overall.
In the end, letting football go proved to be a very good choice for Tim.
Road To 2015
“I want to set a lot of meet records,” Tim eagerly says. “My goal height is 15-6, and I want to win at the state meet.”
The boys’ team at Flagler is looking to be a serious contender for the 2015 State Championships in May. With state experience, much like the group of guys who joined him last year in Jacksonville, Tim is looking to help lead his team.
“It’s pretty awesome,” Tim said, in regards to his team’s depth and chances at states. “Not a lot of sports have an opportunity like this.”
As Tim looks forward, he also looks back. He says, “I have improved a lot, and I never thought that I would be where I am now.”
When Tim isn’t perfecting, he’s serving. Tim balances his duties as a student-athlete as well as a server at Mezzaluna Pizzeria.Even though track season is still a few months away, the state qualifier sees no reason to sit around. Tim lifts weights regularly, and does speed work to help perfect his runway technique.
Pole vault isn’t the highlight event of track and field, but it is one of the most technical. Tim looks to make more people see that thrusting yourself several feet in the air with a pole is harder than it looks, thus giving more appreciation for the sport.Tim has confidence in his abilities as one of the state’s top pole-vaulters, but sometimes a little support can go a long way. Tim says that his coaches, family, and most of all, his girlfriend, all motivate him to be better. “I want to make everyone proud.”
Tim Patrick is a name that few people know. Come this season however, a lot more people are definitely going to know more about him.
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