What makes Lucas Wratschko and Logan Besougloff unique about their involvement in the sport of pole vaulting is both didn’t take up the event until their freshman years in high school and each overcame injuries along the way to eventually excel.
As their careers evolved, both steadily improved to the point of dominating the sport during their senior outdoor seasons in the 2013 spring campaign. The two dueled much of the spring, with Oakton High’s Wratschko winning both the Group AAA state and Northern Region outdoor meets. Langley High’s Besougloff was a close second in each.
Both cleared 14-feet, 6-inches in the state meet in tough conditions. Wratschko won on fewer misses. The conditions at the meet were windy with a lot of heat and humidity, and the vaulters were jumping into the sun.
At the region meet, Wratschko, who will jump at the College of William and Mary won at 14-6. Besougloff, who will jump at George Mason University, was second at 14-3.
Prior to the region, Besougloff won the Liberty District outdoor meet when he cleared a personal-best 15-feet to set a district record. He was the only vaulter in the state at the Group AAA level to clear 15 feet this past spring. Besougloff vaulted 14-3 or better six times at meets during the spring.
For Wratschko, what made the biggest difference this past school year was staying pretty much injury free. That came after breaking one ankle as a sophomore, then the other as a junior.
Besougloff solved the injury bug this past spring as well. But that wasn’t always the case.
“He is a fabulous kid who overcame stress fractures in both feet and a badly-sprained ankle to achieve great things,” Langley pole vaulting coach Ginny Shapiro said.
Besougloff was disappointed not to win the region and state, but was happy that he met a senior-season goal of clearing 15 feet, which was a district record.
At the urging of his father, Besougloff started pole vaulting his freshman season during the outdoor spring campaign at Langley.
“My dad pole vaulted a little and he convinced me to give it a try,” Besougloff said. “I’d played football and soccer, but I liked pole vaulting right away because it is unique from any other sport.”
Another top senior vaulter this past spring was Langley’s Robert Yu. He was fourth in the state outdoor meet (13-3), third in the region (14-feet) and second in the Liberty (13-6).
McLean’s Alexander Hedrick was fourth in the region (13-feet).
During the indoor season this past winter, Yu finished second in the state, Wratschko was third and Besougloff tied for fourth. At the indoor region meet, Wratschko won, Yu was second, Besougloff third and Hedrick fourth.
NOTE: After the high school season was finished in June, Wratschko participated in the New Balance Outdoor Nationals in North Carolina. He finished sixth in the Emerging Elite pole-vaulting category with a personal best leap of 14-81/4. That height was a new Oakton school record, breaking the old mark of 14-6.