SANDY — Their paths to pole vaulting were unique, but Westlake junior Adara Christensen and Bingham freshman Hannah Stetler do share something— a state record.
Christensen and Stetler both cleared 11’11’75 at the state meet at BYU on Friday, each easily eclipsing Christensen’s state record jump of 11’07 that she set at last week’s Region 4 meet.
After both cleared 11’09, Stetler was the first to clear 11’11.75 on her third attempt.
“I knew I had it in me, last attempt, this is your last chance to make this. All of the energy. The crowd was amazing. I’ve never heard them so loud. Normally pole vault is off in the corner somewhere and you don’t see it,” said Stetler, who’s cleared 12’0 in practice once.
On Christensen’s very next jump, remarkably she vaulted over the same height.
“I was just super excited that she got it, and I just wanted to catch up to her,” said Christensen.
Incredibly, Christensen only started pole vaulting back in January, and her first successful jump was back in April when she cleared 10’00 at the UVU Invite. Her athleticism and gymnastics background make her a natural fit for the sport.
The pole vault is just one of four events she’ll compete in at the state meet. She'll participate in the 100 meters and the long jump, and she’ll also run a leg in the 4x100 relay. She qualified for the 100-meter finals during Friday’s qualifying heats.
During meets as a sophomore, Christensen would often run by the pole vaulting pit during meets, often wondered if she’d be able to do that with her gymnastics background.
“I’ve always watched it in the Olympics and it just looks super fun,” she said.
Christensen has a methodical, deliberate routine before each of her jumps, but she said it allows her to collect her thoughts before she starts running and mechanics take over.
With an older sister that was a runner at the University of Utah and a brother that was a thrower at BYU, Stetler always knew she had a future in track and field. Unlike her siblings though, Stetler’s gymnastics background led her into pole vaulting.
“It was in the cards to do track, and I thought that was really cool and gymnastics leads into it (well),” said Stetler.
Both Stetler and Christensen had three attempts to clear 12’03, and each came close in their final jump. They’ll both continue to work on getting better during practices at the Utah Pole Vault Academy in Riverton, which will make that 12’03 height not nearly as daunting next year.
“There’s just always a lot you can change with your form, so I just need to tweak a bunch of things. Height comes as you do that,” said Stetler.