Peter Fagan (boys track and field), Westfield

Senior, (pole vault), 5-9, 153 pounds

JUST THE STATS: Fagan cleared 16-0, tied for No. 8 in state history, at the East Coast Relays on May 20 in Randolph to tie the Union County record set in 1980 by Dan Heyburn of Cranford.REACTION TO MAKING 16-0 AND TYING THE COUNTY RECORD: “Being a 16 foot vaulter is an amazing feeling. It was my goal to make 16 this year and I’m extremely happy I was able to do it with some time left in the season. My uncle actually made a bet with me that I couldn’t get 14-0 in high school, and once I got that he said double or nothing for 16-0, and I finally got him. Sharing a county record is great, I remember hearing that our county record was so high and being like ‘man, why did we have to have such a high county record.’ But now that I actually tied it seems like something I never thought I could do. It’s great.”

 “When I landed and saw that the bar was still up, I couldn’t believe it. It felt like I was in a dream and that I would wake up any second. My goal for the day had just been to clear 15-6 but getting 16 surprised even me! I hadn’t come close to it before, but I also had never really used a 15 foot pole before. It was unbelievable. All I could do was jump up and run around in happiness.”NEXT UP: Fagan will compete in the pole vault at the state Group 4 Championships on Saturday at Egg Harbor.PERSONAL BESTS BY YEAR: Freshman: 9-6, Sophomore: 12-6, Junior: 14-6, Senior: 16-0BIGGEST DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LAST YEAR AND THIS YEAR: “My biggest difference between last year was joining a club called the Hudson Valley Flying Circus in Warwick, N.Y. I met other vaulters at around my level and made some great friends and practice partners. They gave me the motivation in practice to improve and also to have fun. I’m also coached by two great coaches there, Tim St. Lawrence and Hugh Cauthers. They are very knowledgeable and have really taught me all the aspects of pole vault that I didn’t even know existed, such as rowing and pulling through.”

When I was a freshman there was a gymnast on my gymnastics team who was pretty good at pole vault named Mackenzie Dow, who went to Cranford High School some years ago. Everyone said I should try it, and my sister had a friend on our pole vault team so I gave it a shot and instantly loved it. It was so much fun. It felt like flying. And you didn’t get scored like you did in gymnastics. It was much more free-spirited and relaxed. It was fun my first day, and is still fun now.”GREATEST STRENGTH AS A VAULTER:  “My greatest strength as a vaulter has to be my gymnastics background. It helps me with the swing and inversion, and it also helps me to know how to move each part of my body and have awareness in the air. I’m not that fast, but technique is one thing in my vault that I’m very proud of. The transition from gymnastics to pole vault was as smooth as butter.”

BREAKTHROUGH MOMENT:  “My first breakthrough was freshman year at the very last meet, the Union County JV championship. That was the day I decided to do a turn for the first time, and I got a PR by a foot and a half. It was then that I thought I had the ability to really excel at the pole vault.”

 “The funniest thing that happened to me while I was competing at a meet was last year in a dual meet against Scotch Plains. I was the last person left in the meet and I was going for a vault at 13-6. My teammates and I had seen this episode of  Spongebob Squarepants called “The Frycook Olympics” and in it they did all the track and field events. So as I was running down the runway I yelled “FOR THE KRUSTY KRAB!!!” and I cleared 13-6. My teammates and the Scotch Plains vaulters all laughed, but my coaches weren’t too happy. Still, it’s not something I regret.”

GOAL FOR THE REST OF THE SEASON: “My biggest personal goal for the season is to qualify for Meet of Champions and try my best to give Craig Hunter (Robbinsville) a run for his money. I don’t know if I’ll be able to beat the three-time state champion, but I still have some tricks left in the bag (the pole-bag, that is) and I think if I’m able to effectively use those tricks I just might have a chance to win. With a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck, I suppose anything is possible. I’m also going to New Balance Nationals. My goal there is to become an All-American.”

FAVORITE MOVIE: Aladdin, Mulan or Tarzan.

Avatar: The Legend of Korra. “I’m still waiting on that season two release date.”


Jake Blankenship or Sam Kendricks. They are two college vaulters that are both incredibly talented despite being underclassmen. Their skill is years ahead of their age.”

TRADING PLACES: “If I could trade places with anyone for a day it would be Bjorn Otto so I could have amazing form and compete against someone like Renaud Lavillenie, the Olympic champion. And also be fluent in German.”

 “I would make track meets be aired on ESPN and other channels all the time so people could see the amazing things some athletes can do. I think that would make our nation a happier place to live in.”

IN 10 YEARS: “Hopefully I’ll still be vaulting and traveling around with a similar team to train with as the one I have now at the Flying Circus. Also, I’ll have a girlfriend who thinks pole vaulting is cool and stuff.”

COLLEGE PLANS: “I chose Binghamton because I knew they had a really good track team, and they had the NCAA champion pole vaulter back in 2008, Rory Quiller. Coach Thompson was really nice and I slept over with the team and they were all really nice and cool. Plus it’s not too far from home, which makes my parents happy. I also considered Rutgers University, Ramapo University and Virginia Tech, but I did not talk to the coach at Virginia Tech.”


Fagan Vaulter Magazine
Fagan Vaulter Magazine

Leave A Comment