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App State pole vaulters are set for the 2016-17 season.
Courtesy: Sun Belt Conference
Track Preview: Pole Vault
Courtesy: Appalachian State Sports Information
Release: Friday 11/25/2016 (ET)
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Leading up the start of the indoor track season, appstatesports.com will preview each coach and their athletes. Today, we take an inside look at the Mountaineer pole vaulters.

Coach Ward’s Notes

“My hopes for this indoor season is for everyone to get over a bar in the first meet,” said coach David Ward. “But we have a lot of returning kids that have the potential to make it to the conference meet, so in order to do that, they have to finish in the top ten in the conference rankings, and that is who we take to the conference meet. So in every meet they go to, they are trying to get a mark so they can be in the top ten in the conference which is pretty tough. We have a tough conference in the pole vault, especially on the men’s side. So every meet this season is critical for our athletes because if they are not in the top ten, they won’t go to the championships, but traditionally we do very well in the vault.”

Preparing for the Season

In the offseason, Coach Ward spent the majority of the eight-hour weeks training his athletes in strength and conditioning and not touching on technique until closer to the start of the indoor season. Since the beginning of November, the pole vaulters jump twice a week but continue to run and lift to maximize fitness into the event.

Clearing the Bar

The 2016-17 Mountaineer pole vaulter group will be spearheaded by Phillip Thomas and Taylor Drummonds. Both Mountaineers produced the best pole vault marks during the 2015-16 track season. Thomas landed in third with a season’ s best of 16-4.5 at the indoor championships. For the outdoor season, the North Carolina native competed at the NCAA East Preliminary Round and finished third in the pole vault clearing the bar with a PR of 16-9.25 at the outdoor conference meet. Drummonds placed fourth in the pole vault at the indoor championships and fifth at the Sun Belt Outdoor meet.

Along with Thomas and Drummonds, Matt Layne, Tristian Shaver and Michael Utecht will add great depth to the men’s squad and Hannah Emery, Lainey Hunnicutt, Sofia San Miguel and transfer Alison Seramur heighten the talent level to make the Mountaineers a force in the pole vault in the Sun Belt Conference.

For this year’s track season, coach Ward welcomes in freshman Jackson Widener to the High Country to provide fresh talent to a great pole vault group. Widener finished fourth in the pole vault in the Emerging Elite group at Nationals and was a two-time All-state and three-time All-conference selection in the event.

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