Haley Pryor, senior at MICDS is one of those rare breed athletes. She performs all year round in athletics, much like her classmate Campbell Torchin.
Haley, tall (5-foot-11) and strong is the outside hitter on the fall volleyball team. In the winter, she swims for the Rams and this spring, she is the dominant female pole vaulter in the metro.
She topped the field at 11-3 at the 79th annual Marion Freeman Clayton Invitational Saturday, a personal best, a school record and the top performance this year in the state of Missouri. In fact, first place at state last year in Class 3 was 10-6.
This is the first time in 79 years there has been a girls division so of course, her accomplishment is a meet record.
Coming into today, she was shooting for 11 feet. “I brought my longest poll,” she said before the practice t-shirt even came off on a very hot day.
She had to go it alone without her Olympian vaulting coach Jeff Hartwig. Hartwig was tending to some personal clients at the Drake Relays this weekend.
Head coach Jim Lohr said Hartwig was’t too far away. “We’ve been on the phone constantly with Jeff since she did well at Eureka on Thursday.”
Pryor’s return to this arduous field event is a story un to itself. She tore her ACL last year, and returned to competition just two weeks before the state meet.
“Even when she was getting around with a cast, she was cheering on her teammates. “She is a delight to coach. She’s our best,” said Lohr.
Pryor will vault for Rhodes College in Memphis. That is nearby to a training program run by former Olympian Earl Bell in Jonesboro, AR at Arkansas State University.
Pryor was feeling really good at the Freeman meet. While her competitors were struggling at 9 feet, she had yet to enter the field. She knew she could do 10 feet with sweats on. Her skill is so good, she can beat most male vaulters.
Pryor knows exactly what the world record is on the female side. “It is 16 feet by a Russian. And she pronounced her name exactly.
With Hartwig in tow, Pryor will be shooting for district and state titles, with the big meets just around the corner.
By: James Baer