Vaulting to new heights: Junior athlete improves while leading by example

His mind is clear. His vision zeroes in on the target. There is no sound. The only thing he is aware of is the object in front of him: the bar. His task, get over the bar. Junior pole vaulter Campbell Webb experiences this at each track meet.

In 10 seconds there are many different things that can go wrong at any given moment of the vault. From the start of the run, to the planting of the pole, to getting upside down, getting his hips higher than the bar, and then falling in a safe way from a high vertical. Pole vaulting is a sport that requires extreme concentration. Campbell has put in the time needed to perfect his craft to score big points for the Bryan High track team. Campbell has improved drastically from his sophomore year from clearing 10’6” in the first meet to vaulting 14’6” outside his junior year, and his personal record being 15’6” indoor.

One of Campbell’s inspirations for getting involved in pole vault has been his dad who pole vaulted in college and was stationed with the military in North Carolina while Campbell was a freshman.

“Since my dad got back from mobilization, he has been my coach,” Campbell said. “He’s been there at every practice, every meet, every national championship. He’s always been there.”

Campbell has put in many hours since his freshman year trying to gain experience and knowledge on the sport. He’s a member of the Mac Vault Pole Vault Academy in College Station and has competed in many different track meets for them.

“I vault for Bryan High School and Mac Vault Academy,” Campbell said. “I vault with Mac Vault during the offseason, and I’ve competed in national championships for them, like the USATF National Championships along with the New Balance National Championship.”

In addition to vaulting three times a week, Campbell also focuses on improving his speed and strength through bar work and bodyweight exercises. His work ethic has definitely paid off.

“Campbell has done a great job for us,” pole vaulting coach, Bret Paige said. “He started really focusing on pole vault his freshman year. One of the reasons on why he is improving so much is as his body is growing and maturing, he’s getting faster and stronger – but the main thing is his coachability. His ability to do what a coach says and take it to the next level helps the most.”

Another aspect of pole vault is the team camaraderie that takes place, as vaulters watch each other and communicate what they need to do to get a higher vault. Junior Christine McCall holds the girls pole vaulting record at 11’ and sees the importance of communication.

“In pole vault, you have to rely on a lot of other people to tell you what you’re doing wrong and to check your step,” Christine said. “Campbell has really helped me figure out problems with my own vault and how to fix them.”

Campbell not only has big goals, but he also has people who believe in him and know that he can achieve anything he works for.

“Campbell’s big goal is to hit 15’ in a meet this year,” Paige said. “I’d like to see him qualify for area this year, and go to regionals. Just take it one step at a time.”

After high school, Campbell strives to compete at the collegiate level.

“I would like to pole vault in college,” Campbell said. “I’m not sure if I can make a career out of it. I’d love to see it take me to higher levels.”

Campbell enjoys the opportunity that pole vaulting has given him to represent all of the people and places that have supported him and have gotten him to where he is now.

“Going to the national competitions is probably one of the biggest accomplishments,” Campbell said. “It’s not easy to qualify for those meets. Qualifying and being able to represent Mac Vault and Bryan High School in those meets is a really big accomplishment.”

Campbell has one more year left on the Bryan High track team, and he has already made a big difference. He will continue to do so by encouraging the younger vaulters.

“Having experienced vaulters helps because not only can the younger kids just listen to me, but they can see and learn what an experienced vaulter does.” Paige said. “Campbell can show the younger kids what we’re trying to coach and be the visual representation. He leads by example.”