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Pole vault prowess times 3
New pole, coaching, boost Walker records, confidence

With a gift of sorts from Oak Ridge High School, Farragut senior Jeremy Walker is reaching new heights. Three personal records in one meet, to be exact.

Walker, a senior pole vaulter, set three personal records in an April 17 dual meet against Bearden — ultimately reaching 12-feet. Coaching, plus a new, longer 13-foot pole on loan from ORHS made the difference according to Walker.

At first “uncomfortable” with his new pole only hours before his record, Walker got a grip on things just prior to the meet at FHS’s Bill Clabo Field.

“I’m only using a six-inch higher hand grip than I was with the old pole, but that much longer allows me a little bit more time underneath the pole to really get the swing in and the flex that I need to get higher heights,” Walker said. “It’s pretty nice.”

Walker said boys head coach David Ball and other coaches noticed the senior was “maxed out that old pole [12-foot], I was bending it too much, it wasn’t pushing me up the way it should have. I’ve had a support from coach [Chelsea] Jacobs and coach Ball.

“They come over and they push me hard, they want let me slack off out here.”

Ball said Walker “is a good leader, has a great work ethic. In that one meet, without a whole lot of practice time, he went up a foot.”

As for the equipment change, “They talked to Oak Ridge and they have the perfect-sized pole for me ... they don’t have any pole vaulters,” the 5-foot-9, 155-pound Walker said. “They had borrowed our high jump pit for their Oak Ridge Relays [April 16].”

Walker, 18, had just finished “a pitiful day” at the Oak Ridge Relays, where he “no heighted” at only 10-feet. “I was really shook.”

Walker also credited coach Chris Martland, a former Admiral, UT and Belmont University decathlete. “Coach Martland’s been a big help,” Walker said. “And coach Hutchens. … we changed one thing and automatically my vaulting changed completely that day, and it really helped me because I was having a tough time at the beginning of the year. … Coach Hutchens and coach Martland are primarily the coaches responsible for how I do.”

Ball added, “We’ve got an assistant coach in Chris Martland that knows his stuff.”

As for the future, “I’m feeling pretty confident,” Walker said. “I’ve got a goal of thirteen feet this year, and I think I can achieve that.”

A starting defensive back on the FHS football team, Walker added that he’s “kinda had an inkling to take the school record, which I think is thirteen-nine.”

Ball added, “With a little bit more time before … the sectionals, he may be able to get twelve-six or thirteen feet.”

With an Oak Ridge pole.


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