Kevin Wagner proved to be a quick learner in his first full season pole vaulting.
The Mankato Loyola-Cleveland senior earned his first medal at the Minnesota State Class A Track and Field Championships by placing fourth in the pole vault Friday at Hamline University in St. Paul.
He tied his personal best by clearing 13 feet, 3 inches.
Although Wagner started vaulting three years ago as a sophomore, he only got in a meet once in while pole vaulting. Last year he did basically the same. “This is the first year that I’ve actually really pole vaulted.”
“I thought I did good,” Wagner said. “I’m disappointed I didn’t get 13-6. I still ended up getting fourth, so I’m happy with that.”
The starting height was 11-3, but Wagner started at 12-3. Wagner missed once at 12-9 and 13-3.
“I came close to clearing 13-6 in my first attempt, but it kind of went down hill after that,” Wagner said. “I hit the bar with my feet on the way up.”
First place went to Grant Krieger of Blake, who cleared 15 feet.
Wagner followed up his pole vault with a 13th place in the long jump on Saturday. He jumped 20 feet, 3 inches. Wagner came in with a section distance of 21-1.5. First place Nolan Michaelson of Pequot Lakes went 21-10 to place first
“It wasn’t a very good day in the long jump; that’s for sure,” Wagner said. His first jump was only 19-2.5, but he improved by a foot in his second attempt.
“I was too far behind the board and didn’t jump very good today,” Wagner said. “I was probably a foot behind the board, so that would have added another foot on to where I should have been.”
Wagner still thinks he had “a very good season. I accomplished a lot and got better in almost everything I wanted to.”
Wagner started out the season long jumping in the low 20s and improved two feet to a personal best 22 feet. “That was fun,” Wagner said.
In the pole vault, Wagner started out at 11-6 this season. “I got a new pole and got to 13-3,” Wagner said. “The new pole helped a lot.”
An all-around athlete who also played football and basketball at Cleveland, Wagner is going to be a decathlete at St. Scholastic College. “The main thing they look at is pole vault and high hurdles because those are the things that are hardest to teach,” Wagner said. “I haven’t done javelin, discus or the mile.”
By Pat Beck