Golden Valley vaulter Pust has high hopes

There is a picture of Steven Pust when he was 2 years old, holding a broomstick over his head as if he was ready to pole vault.

His father, Tim, has coached track at Golden Valley since the school opened in 1994. His specialty has always been the pole vault and Steven couldn’t wait until he was old enough to get on the runway and leap over bars.

Now a senior, Steven is ready to make a run at the CIF State Meet. His journey begins today with the Central California Conference Championships at Veterans Stadium at Golden Valley High School.

The meet is scheduled to start at 10 a.m.

“I’m super excited,” said Steven, who will attempt to defend his title in the pole vault and 110-meter hurdles. “This is what the track and field season is all about. Dual meets are tune-ups. You have a couple big meets like Arcadia and the Meet of the Champions, but championship season is what athletes strive for all season.

“I definitely want to get to Buchanan and represent Golden Valley at the state meet. We haven’t had a vaulter there since Mike Landers.”

Landers was coached by Steven’s father. Landers won the pole vault state championship in 2001 and went on to compete at UCLA.

“He was an idol of mine,” Steven said. “He’s one reason I wanted to get into vaulting. I think I was in fourth grade when I went and watched him finish second at the NCAA championships.”

Steven will get his opportunity to compete in college. He recently signed his letter of intent to accept a track scholarship to U.C. Davis, where he’ll train as a decathlete.

Sacramento State also showed interest in Steven.

“I’ve always competed well (at U.C. Davis),” Steven said. “I like the facilities. The decathlete coach has contacts with the best decathletes in the world. I can build toward my dream.

“It’s one less thing to stress about. During your senior year you have all these deadlines to meet. Now I can just focus on the track season.”

Steven has cleared 15 feet, 3 inches in the pole vault, which ranks second in the Sac-Joaquin Section behind Vacaville’s Reed White’s 16 feet.

The best is yet to come from Steven.

“He’s been very consistent at 15 feet,” Tim said. “The last five weeks he’s been over 15 feet five times. He’s looking really good. When somebody is plateauing like that they’re ready for a big jump.”

Steven is confident some big jumps are in his near future.

“My run and take off have always been good,” he said. “I’ve been working on the top end of my vault, getting off the pole. I’ve also been working with a new pole. If I can put it all together, 16 feet will be a walk in the park.”

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