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Folsom pole vaulter reaching new heights

By: Matt Long
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Mike Starr measures his success by how far he vaults his body over a bar in the air. If he keeps vaulting as well as he has been so far this season, he'll have more than a number to show for his success. By clearing 14 feet, 3 inches, he's only three inches away from the Folsom High School pole vault record and if he can duplicate these numbers in the postseason, he'll likely be competing at the state meet in May. On Saturday at the Bella Vista Invitational, Starr improved his personal-best vault of 14 feet by three inches. By the end of the season he's hoping to be vaulting over the bar at 15 feet or more. Starr began vaulting when he went out for the team as a freshman two years ago. "I remember watching the event during the Olympics and thought it would be a cool event to do," Starr said. "It's just a very exciting event. Every time I do it I get a rush." One of Starr's greatest strengths is his speed. Along with vaulting, he also competes in the 110 high hurdles, which runs a close second to vaulting as Starr's favorite event. He also competes on the 4x100-relay team. "Aside from being a great athlete and working hard, I think speed is his greatest asset," Folsom coach Dave Gregson said. "The faster you go the higher you're going to vault. "Pole vaulting and hurdles is a common double and I think his vaulting helps his hurdling and I think his hurdling helps with his vaulting. "He could probably be a good decathlete if he ever wanted to do it because he's got the two hardest events down." Coincidentally, Starr has been doing more sprint workouts during practice, which he says have helped him improve his vaulting, along with his offseason conditioning and continuing to perfect his vaulting form. Last season Starr didn't make it out of the sub-section meet, but he seems well on his way to getting further this year. "I'd like to make it the state meet," Starr said, "and I hope to be over 15 feet." If he can put it together, Starr should be there in the end.