McMichael breaks all-time Florida record in pole vault

Up until Saturday, Auburn University track and field signee Drew McMichael was trying to forget his prior experience at the Jacksonville Street Vaultz.

A year ago, let’s just say the veteran pole vaulter, a recent Evangelical Christian School graduate, had a bad moment.

“I somehow got my pole stuck in the runway, tripped and somehow planted and busted my head open,” he said.

Still, McMichael, who finished his high school season as the state’s best pole vaulter, didn’t hesitate to circle back to the same place that left a mark, quite literally. He was out to make one last memory before heading off to college.

After securing heights at 15-7, 16-1 and 16-6, which won him the meet, McMichael set the bar to 17-2. It was a half inch higher than the previous state record by Edgewater’s Mike Holloway, who last scored the jump in 1987.

Wearing his ECS jersey, McMichael missed on his first attempt. Then a slow clap emerged on his second.

“There were 30-40 people watching, random people,” McMichael said. “Everyone was there. When you have everyone focused on you, you know you’ll perform like no other.”

McMichael nailed the attempt at 17-2 and then raced back over the runway. He was embraced by father, who nearly tackled him. His shirt got taken off.

“Everybody went crazy,” McMichael said.

He was interviewed by state track and field services. He was called and texted by college coaches, even those that recruited him and didn’t land the standout.

Auburn even raised its scholarship offer heading into his freshman year.

He said it was a success that couldn’t have come a moment too soon. On Wednesday, McMichael will travel to Auburn in his pickup truck while his parents follow in a rental car.

He starts school Monday, with training to follow as soon as he arrives.

“It would have been nice if I had gotten it in season,” McMichael said. “But it was my last meet, so it was the best way to end my senior year. I’m so glad I broke the 17 foot barrier.

“Now I won’t have people after me asking, ‘Drew, have you hit 17 feet yet?’”

And better yet, he says, he can rest easy now knowing he’s not just the best in Florida in 2015, but best all-time within the state.

“I had to finish as the best,” he said. “As soon as that bar went up, I knew I had to jump at least that height.

“I knew it was my last meet before college,” McMichael added. “I had nothing to hold me back.”


Drew McMichael

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