Indians’ Palmer signs to pole vault at Liberty

Dean Palmer has been writing and re-writing Cecil County history for the past two springs.

Now, the North East senior pole vaulter will be setting his sights on entering the record books at the college level.

After a historic high school career capped by a standout state championship meet, Palmer received an invitation to continue his athletic career at Liberty University, an NCAA Division I Christian institution located in Southern Virginia.

The request came on the heels of a successful track and field season in which Palmer captured an Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference (UCBAC) and 2A East Region title in the pole vault, before securing the third-best vault in Maryland with a second-place performance at the 2A State Meet in Baltimore in late May.

He graduated high school having broke his own personal mark seven times and having set a new Cecil County record five times.

“I wanted to get into a big Christian college. I always wanted to get pretty good at sports and go D-1, and (Liberty is) one of the only D-1 Christian colleges,” Palmer said. “(After states) I got an email from the coach at Liberty and he told me that I made the team. Then he asked me if I wanted to stay in the team dorms and I said ‘yeah.’

“I visited it last summer. It’s a huge campus, super nice. I’m super excited.”

Palmer entered his final high school season already the owner of the county record for highest pole vault after he secured it at states the year before with a vault of 13 feet, six inches. Over a solid senior campaign, Palmer improved with every large competition, climbing to a height of 14 feet at the conference meet and reaching 14 feet, three inches at regionals before vaulting 14 feet, six inches at the state tournament — the 12th highest vault in state history.

That same day he attempted 15 feet only once and nearly cleared the bar, prompting Liberty to reach out with a scholarship. Palmer was eager to sign a national letter of intent.

“You have to (clear) 15 (to vault for Liberty) and I only hit 14-6, but they said they’d accept me for the potential of getting that, so they put me on the team,” Palmer said.

He will depart for college hoping to maintain the success that placed him among the top athletes to ever compete in Cecil County.

“I had to put in a lot of practice. If you don’t practice pole vault, I feel like you’ll never be good at it. Practicing pole vault over and over and over again gets you comfortable. It gets you running faster, you can control the pole more, start getting used to the bend … getting used to going up without getting scared,” Palmer said. “I feel that it wasn’t super hard breaking the record at first, but then, to get it a little bit higher is just so much harder.

“It feels pretty cool that someday someone will come close to that record and (they’ll say) ‘man, that kid set it really high. Now I can beat it.’”


Dean Palmer

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