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Pole Vaulting: 90% looks and 10% ability

The Xavier Newswire sits down with sophomore pole vaulter Craig Krcal

By Lauren Vaughan
On February 7, 2012

The Xavier Newswire sat down with sophomore pole vaulter

Craig Krcal.

  • Xavier Newswire: When did you start pole vaulting?
  • Craig Krcal: I started pole vaulting when I was a freshman in high school. One of my best friend's brothers was on the verge of breaking our school's record, and he wanted me to try it out. I cleared eight feet on my first day, and I've been at it ever since. I always say that pole vaulting is 90 percent looks and 10 percent athletic ability. There's a lot of ups and downs, no pun intended, but, especially when things are going well, it's my favorite thing. It's kind of what keeps me going through school. There are a lot of rough spots, but it's definitely my favorite thing.
  • XN: What is the highest you've ever pole vaulted?
  • CK: In meters, which is how they measure it in college, it's 4.5 meters which is more 14 feet. I'm hoping to get to 15'9" this year. That's my goal.
  • XN: Do you plan to pole vault in the Olympics in the future?
  • CK: That's a dream, but I don't know. It depends on how I develop over the next two and a half years because there are a lot of kids who are good and then something just clicks and they become an Olympian. So, that's the goal but it's kind of going to go year by year.
  • XN: Do you have any idols from your sport?
  • CK: Sergey Bubka [who broke the men's world record for pole vaulting 35 times. He holds both the current indoor and outdoor pole vault records]. He's someone that every vaulter looks up to because he kind of changed the whole sport. There's [also] a guy who went to my high school, Tim Mack. He got really good at pole vault at junior college, and then he went to Tennessee where he won the national title in college. He went on to the Olympics and on his last attempt in 2004, he broke the Olympic record and won gold. So, he's been one of my idols.
  • XN: Do you have anything special you do before a jump?
  • CK: The day of a meet I kind of just treat it like any day, and then when I get to the competition, it's usually a lot of music. I like to listen to inspirational speeches before I go, just to mellow me out, calm me down and keep my mind on what I have to do, but there's nothing I have to do. I usually tape my wrists and wear a sweatband.
  • XN: Typically how many competitors are you up against?
  • CK: It depends. I've been at meets where there are 12, and that's a really small meet but last weekend I was competing with 26 kids and those competitions take around two and a half hours. It depends on the level of quality vaulters, and it depends on where we go and how many schools are there.
  • XN: Are you a sports fan?
  • CK: I'm from Cleveland, so I'm an all around Cleveland fan. Win or lose, usually lose, I'm a die-hard Cleveland sports fan.

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