Road to NBNI Blogs: Harrison Williams, Week 4: Post-Nationals Wrapup

by Harrison Williams

So New Balance Nationals Indoor didn’t go as well as I would have hoped. 

Although I only jumped 15-10, there was a silver lining.  Pole vault is a very weird and unique event.  It’s one of the only events where if you are doing too well on competition day, it’s a bad thing.  Typically, if you are feeling great and running really well in warm-ups, it’s a good sign, since it means you’ll be able to get on your bigger poles.  However, if you are running TOO well, and you don’t have big enough poles, it’s a bad thing. 

Unfortunately, at NBNI, I was running too well.  I moved up poles fairly quickly, and ended up on my smaller 5-meter pole at 16-2.  I had jumped on this pole in practice, but seeing as it was practice, I didn’t have near as much energy as in a meet, so I wasn’t even close to blowing through.  However, with the exciting atmosphere and fast track at the Armory, I was feeling great and running really well.  Unfortunately, that meant that I blew through pretty badly on all three attempts.  We moved the standards back all the way to 80 on my last attempt, but I was so amped up on adrenaline for my last jump that I “crushed” the pole and pretty much hit the bar with my feet.  I had no chance of clearing it.

Looking back, there really wasn’t anything I could have done to jump better.  I couldn’t move up to my bigger 5-meter pole, because by the time we realized I was blowing through too much; it was my third attempt and I had never jumped on that pole, so my coach and I weren’t sure how I would handle it.  Generally, pole vaulters try not to go up or down poles on their last attempt.  In hindsight, I probably should have stayed on my biggest 16-foot pole for 16-2 and then move up to my 5-meter pole after that, but my coach and I were both eager to jump on the 5-meter poles.

Although my result at New Balance was disappointing, I did get to witness Devin King jump 17-10.75 and set a new national record.  Devin cleared that bar by at least four inches, and it was an awesome jump.  All he had to do was repeat that jump at 18-0 and he would have had it easily.  He had three great attempts at 18-0, but it looked like the excitement and the crowd going insane got to him a little bit and he couldn’t quite put it together.  Although he didn’t clear 18-0 at New Balance, I’m sure he’ll clear it early in the outdoor season, and most likely shatter the outdoor national record of 18-3.5.

My blowing through the 5-meter pole has made me very excited for this outdoor season.  Hopefully, I can nail down my run and work on my inversion more before my next meet, the Arcadia Multis in California.  However, because I will be competing in the decathlon, I’m going to need to keep training my other nine events and hopefully get a nice PR – not only in the pole vault, but also the decathlon!

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