Redondo Union has top pole vault tandem

Redondo Union had the top pole vaulting boy-girl tandem in the state of California this year for high school track and field. The Sea Hawks were the only high school in the state with a boy and a girl in the top 10.

Tate Curran and Kaitlin Heri, both juniors, cleared the third and sixth highest heights respectively putting them among the best in the state.

“We’re really lucky to have each other and go to CIF and do a lot of cool stuff together,” Heri said.

According to, which has a listing of the top 100 performances in each track and field event, Curran’s 16-feet-5-inch jump tied for the third best in the state and had him fifth overall.

“I was so happy with my performance this year overall,” Curran said.

He set the current Redondo Union school record late in the year at a Bay League dual meet versus Peninsula in Redondo Beach.

“I didn’t feel great that day (to start out with),” Curran recalled. “I kept going. I was making jumps pretty easily. The conditions were so perfect. It was warm with a closing tailwind. It was obviously one of those days (that everything came together).”

One of his biggest accomplishments was clearing his age in feet. Very few accomplish that.

All those ahead of Curran this year were seniors, so going into next year he will be the highest ranking pole vaulter returning and has his sights set on 17-feet, which was cleared by only one person this year. Jett Gordon of Marina High School in Huntington Beach was No. 1 with a height of 17-feet-2-inches.

Heri cleared a height of 12-feet-9-inches and tied for sixth best and ranked her No. 8 overall.

Heri made her best jump at the start of the season and later found out she had a stress fracture in her foot. Though she couldn’t train, she went on to make it to state.

“I was really happy and really surprised that I did and was grateful that I had the opportunity to go again,” Heri said.

Both are juniors and hold the school record with one year of eligibility left. Heri made it all the way to state while Curran did not. Both hope to be competing next year at the state championships together.


“That’s the plan,” she said. “My goal is 13-feet, but hopefully I will go higher.”

“Tate Curran has been an amazing contribution to our program,” said Redondo Union boys and girls track and field head coach Bob Leetch. “Finishing his season at 16’5” is remarkable. He has singlehandedly pulled our vault crew onto the national stage.”

“Tate is the prototypical elite vaulter, he has a great understanding of the event, he is very strong without doing much work in the weight room,” Leetch said. “He has terrific leg speed while not doing much in the way of speed work.  Needless to say the sky is the limit for Tate in the future.”

Recently, Chris Nilsen from Park Hill High School in Kansas City cleared 18-feet-4 ¾-inches to set a new national high school record.

Curran knows Nilsen and although he must clear 17-feet first, 18-feet is possible if everything goes right.

“My goals would be looking at that state title, jumping over 17-feet and hopefully beating the high school record (of his father at 17-feet-4-inches).”

“Right now Tate is enjoying the process of getting better,” said his father Anthony Curran. “He’s got a way more mental positive attitude than I ever would have thought he would have at being the best that he can be.”


His coach, Leetch, said that Tate Curran is like having an extra coach on the team.

“His knowledge of the subtle adjustments is unreal.  He is a very bright young man who is a true student of the sport,” he said.

A lot of credit goes to Curran’s father, who once cleared 18-feet-8 ½-inches at an Olympic Trials Qualifier and has had a hand in the success of both top pole vaulters.

Father Anthony Curran runs pole vaulting camps and was a PAC-10 champion in 1982 at UCLA. He told his son he wanted Tate to compete in at least one sport, which led to track and field and the pole vault.

It was a good decision by Tate, with some direction by his father. Anthony was one of eight children and had four other brothers that cleared at least 12’-6” in the pole vault.

Heri was in middle school when Duncan Avery suggested she try it. Anthony Curran saw potential the first time he saw her.

“I’m super thankful that I made the transition from gymnastics to pole vault,” Heri said. “I was trying to find a new sport.”

“She kind of picked it up just naturally,” Tate Curran said.

Since then Heri has gone to the state championships three years running.

“I tried it, I love it and I’m so happy I got into it,” Heri said.






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