Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The message for Kyle Reid this year? Grab your carbon fiber pole; it’s time to dust off the cobwebs.
A senior from Schaumburg, Ill., Reid has been challenged by University of Iowa director of track and field Larry Wieczorek to break the Hawkeyes’ 29-year old pole vault record. Todd Wigginton has owned the mark of 17 feet, 1 inch (5.21m) since 1984, so before practice this week Wieczorek gave Reid a picture worth 1,000 words.
“It’s a pole vault comic with a spider web at the top,” said Reid. “It’s pretty funny, but what I found more touching is what he wrote on it. He’s always so positive and encouraging and every time you talk to him you just can’t help but be motivated.”
The message from Wieczorek was simple, “Kyle — you can do it.”
“We just turned a new year,” said Wieczorek, now in his 26th year with the program. “It’s 2013 and my attitude is it’s going to be the best yet. The pole vault record is from 1984 and there are some cobwebs above the cross bar in that space over 17 feet. So I have challenged Kyle to bust through those cobwebs and let’s break that school record. And I believe he’s going to do it.”
When Reid arrived on campus in 2009 he was a multi-event athlete. As a freshman he set a heptathlon mark that ranked sixth all-time in program history, and along the way he hit a personal best pole vault record of 16-4 ¾ that ranks fourth all-time.
But he was unable to match those performances during his sophomore season, and in 2012, he decided to concentrate on his technique and put his attention solely on the pole vault. Unfortunately, injuries kept him from achieving his maximum potential, and he enters his senior year still chasing the personal records he set as a freshman.
Fast forward three years and Reid says his final preseason feels different. He’s healthier, stronger and happier, and with a little instruction from assistant coach Mike Scott, he has returned to his multi-event roots.
“The combined events training has made me a lot stronger,” said Reid. “I lose out on some of the technique stuff, but it has made me better physically for the pole vault.
“I’m really motivated, and I always want to keep improving and keep moving on. This year the record is very possible. Coach Scott is doing a good job with me and our training is going very well.”
Scott believes a return to the combined events has also relieved some pressure. Reid wants to contribute team points at this year’s indoor and outdoor championships, and a return to the multi-events gives him another opportunity to score at the conference meet.
“The combined events take the pressure off his plate,” said Scott, “because when he’s solely focused on the pole vault it can kind of be distracting that that’s everything and you can almost over think it.”
The Hawkeyes haven’t had a point-scorer in the pole vault or combined events since Reid’s been on campus, and he wants that to change.
“I want the pole vault record, but what I really want is to help out the team,” he said. “I see these guys working hard every day and trying to do their best to contribute and score points. That’s what I want to do. Just to be a part of that and contribute to the team would be a highlight.”
The Hawkeyes open the 2013 indoor season Saturday at 1 p.m. (CT) at the UI Rec Building. Reid will simulate day one of the heptathlon by competing in the 60 meters, long jump and shot put. He’ll take his first step toward the pole vault record at the Adidas Classic on Jan. 19.