Hoover’s Peare sets pole vault record in D-I


Matt Peare never lost sight of his dream to make it to the state track and field meet.

To qualify the way he did Wednesday night? The Hoover High School sophomore pole vaulter didn’t expect this.

Peare set a Stark County record and won his first Division I regional championship by clearing 16 feet, four inches. He broke the old record of 161⁄2 set by defending state champion Lucas Kelley of Perry.

Kelley finished second and will join his vaults club teammate next week in Columbus. No one will be shocked if he and Peare are the final two competitors at state. Kelley’s runner-up jump was 16-1⁄4, the second best of his career.

“It still amazes me,” Peare said. “My goal for this year was to get (at least) 14-6 consecutively so I could get to state. We kind of did that.”

It has been an incredible couple of weeks for Peare.

Entering at a later height at the Federal League meet, Peare missed all three of his attempts. Kelley broke his own county record that night.

Now Peare has won district and regional titles in consecutive weeks. His previous outdoor best going into the postseason was 15-3.

“I’m extremely excited for him,” Kelley said. “He works so hard for it, and I’m glad success comes to him. Sometimes he’ll practice twice a day. He’s getting better.”

Peare and Kelley were the only two jumpers remaining when the bar reached 15 feet. The pressure of qualifying for the state meet was off Peare, who was making his first regional appearance in the pole vault.

“Everything calmed down,” Peare said. “I knew I was in, so I was having fun at that point.”

Peare and Kelley cleared 15-0, 15-4, 15-8 and 16-1⁄4. Kelley made 16-1⁄4 on his final attempt. For the moment, he and Peare shared the region and stadium records.

Kelley’s third miss at 16-4 automatically pushed him to second based on number of misses. On his final attempt from 16-4, Peare made history.

High school vaulters rarely jump at least 16 feet and lose. Kelley’s jump of 15-4 at the district meet also would have been good enough to win most times.

“I kind of felt like I shot myself in the foot early, but there’s nothing I can do about it now,” Kelley said.

Peare and Kelley will be joined at the state meet by Austintown Fitch’s Dylan Latone and Wadsworth’s Danny Malkowski. All four are members of the Industrial Vaults Club in Massillon.



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