Wave star off to pole vault summit | NevadaAppeal.com

Wave star off to pole vault summit

LVN News Service

Renaud Lavillenie leads a world class field of athletes who will be showcased Friday night when UCS Spirit hosts its annual National Pole Vault Summit in Reno.

Elite men and women vaulters will compete at the Reno Livestock Events Center starting at 7 p.m. Competition for masters (40-and-over) will also be held Friday night, while collegiate and high school athletes are scheduled to take center stage on Saturday at the Livestock Events Center.

Taking part in the high school division will be Fallon’s Nathan Heck, who took second place in the Division I-A state meet last year.

Heck tied the school record last year with a vault of 15 feet, and signed his National Letter of Intent in November to vault for Idaho State.

Lavillenie won the men’s pole vault gold medal for France at the 2012 Summer Olympics and cleared 20-feet, 2-1/2 inches on Feb. 15, 2014, to break a world record Sergey Bubka had held for nearly 20 years.

Steve Chappell, a Carson Valley resident and Summit organizer, noted that Lavillenie cleared 19 feet Saturday at a meet in Aubiere, France. His mark is currently No. 2 in the world.

“We think we’ll see a couple of guys jump 19 feet Friday night, maybe higher,” Chappell said. “We’re looking for Lavillenie to jump a world-leading height in Reno.”

Mark Hollis (19-1-1/2), American record holder Brad Walker (19-9-3/4), Sam Kendricks of Ole Miss, the 2014 NCAA and USA champion, and British record holder Steven Lewis are also included in the men’s field. Of local interest, Carson City product Mike Arnold will compete coming off a second-place jump of 18-0-1/2 this past weekend at the BYU Cougar Collegiate Indoor Invitational in Provo, Utah.

Becky Holladay, 34, a Reed High graduate and 2012 U.S. Olympian, and Katerina Stefanidi (15-5-1/2), a 2012 Olympian for Greece and NCAA champion for Stanford, are two of the top athletes in the women’s field.

Nick Maestretti, a 2012 Douglas High graduate and now a junior at the University of Kansas, will compete in the collegiate division on Saturday. Maestretti is coming off a personal record 17-0-1/4 Friday at the Jayhawks-hosted Bill Easton Classic.