Mike Arnold has soared past the 15 foot barrier for Carson High and has been teetering on joining just several other high school pole vaulters in state history to clear 16 feet.
He expects to clear that barrier this weekend. And he believes by the end of the season he can go after the state record of 17-0 set by Reno High's Cameron Kroll.
Arnold had another impressive performance this past weekend when he set the meet record at the Las Vegas Track Classic, competing against all of Southern Nevada's top vaulters.
He won the meet at 15-0 and was named the state's Vaulter of the Week. He almost cleared 16-0 as well. The bar came off after he left the pit area.
"I had it cleared but the bar teetered on the standard and fell off," Arnold said. "I hit it with my shirt on the way over."
Arnold expects to be able to clear 16-0 this weekend at the Rocklin (Calif.) Invitational. "I can definitely see that coming this weekend, even 16-6," he said.
If the conditions are favorable this weekend, Arnold should have an excellent shot at clearing 16-0. In unfavorable conditions at practice on Monday, Arnold was able to clear 15-0, impressive considering he was vaulting into about a 15-20 mile an hour head wind.
Arnold's breakthrough meet came earlier this year in Sacramento. He cleared 14-0 on his first try and then it took him three tries to clear his personal best of 14-6, using a 15-0 pole in competition for the first time.
He then cleared 15-0 on his second try and 15-3 on his third try. He then set his personal best of 15-6 using a 15-1.80 pole on his second try.
After all those attempts, he just didn't have the leg strength to break the school record of 15-10. But he nearly set the school record as he almost cleared 15-11 on his first two attempts.
At Las Vegas, Arnold decided to go straight from 15-0 to 16-0. He credits much of his success to Carson High pole vault coach Kevin Ply and Galena High pole vault coach Paul Heglar, who is one of Northern Nevada's top pole vault coaches.
Arnold worked out with Heglard during the summer. "They help me tremendously," he said.
He has set his goal to break the state record at about the time of the state meet. "I'm hoping to break the state record this year either before state or at state," Arnold said.
In addition, Arnold has the lofty goal of going to the 2012 Olympics. Arnold needs to reach the standard of 18-6 to make it to the Olympic Trials qualifying standard.
He has received a half scholarship offer from Idaho State and Eastern Washington has also shown interest.
"I'm hoping it will go up," said Arnold about Idaho State's offer. Idaho State will decide what it will offer Arnold by the end of the season.
Arnold also takes a great sense of pride in using UCS Spirit poles made in Carson City. Virtually all of the world's top pole vaulters use UCS Spirit poles.
"I prefer their poles over any other by a long shot," Arnold said. "They're a great help. They're super good to me."
The biggest keys to his success this year, Arnold said, is that he's healthy,eating right and just working hard.
"I've just been basically training hard and staying healthy," he said. "Just repitition. repitition is the biggest thing."