Carson High graduate Mike Arnold didn’t win a new car, but he won a prestigious title in the pole vault, nonetheless.
Arnold cleared 17 feet 9 3/4 inches to win the North American Pole Vaulting Championships, more commonly known as the Clovis Street Vault, on Friday in front of 12,000 spectators in the Old Town Clovis section of Clovis, Calif.
Arnold, who has a personal best of 18-8, which would have placed in the top seven at the 2012 Olympics in London, cleared 17-9 3/4 on his third attempt at about 10 p.m. He failed at three attempts at 18-11, which would have broken Kory Tarpenning’s event record of 18-10 1/4 and won Arnold a new car.
“It’s amazing,” Arnold told the Fresno Bee. “It’s a phenomenal experience in front of a great crowd, and that’s what you do it for — to put on a show and have a lot of fun.”
“Basically, I have no time line,” the 23-year-old Arnold also said about how long he will compete. “It’s one of those sports if you love it, you’re going to continue to do it. When the fun ends, that’s a sign to quit, but I love it. Ever since I started, I haven’t put the stick down, and I don’t know if that will ever happen.”
Arnold was a 2013 NCAA All-American at Idaho State. He plans to become a physical therapist and also just complete his mater’s in public administration.
The physical peak for male vaulters has been established at between 28 and 32 years of age. Arnold qualified for the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials. He expects it to take a 19-foot vault to make it to the 2016 Olympics. “It’s realistic,” he said. “I still have two years (to improve).”