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Pine Island's White breathtaking again with 16-9 pole vault clearance

Jarod White, of Pine Island, sailed 16-feet-9 on Saturday at the Grand Haven Beach Vault in Grand Haven, Mich. White's 16-9 height ranks seventh nationally among 2022 graduating students.

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Pine Island's Jarod White vaulted 15-feet, 10-inches in the Subsection 4A boys track and field this season in Pine Island. On Saturday, White went 16-9 in a national event in Grand Haven, Mich.
Contributed / Jerry Olson file photo
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PINE ISLAND — So, it looks like Jarod White gets his best pole vaulting results when he’s spent two straight nights in a tent, rolled up in a sleeping bag, the hard earth beneath him.

And when he follows that with about 8 hours in the hot sun, Lake Michigan gleaming on one side of him, pole vaulting competition happening on the other.

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After all of that, he’s apparently ready to go. It was then that the 2022 Pine Island graduate took his turn following a bunch of meet delays and having watched his boys and girls Fleigle Flyers teammates perform at the Grand Haven Beach Vault in Grand Haven, Mich.

This scenario got started last Thursday, July 14, beginning with White's two-day camp out, and culminated late Saturday with White soaring to a height he never imagined possible at this stage of his career.

Minnesota’s all-time best high school pole vaulter going into that day, White took things up many more notches and did it despite the wonkiest circumstances he’d ever dealt with, both heading into a competition and then during it.

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No matter, White was never better.

White, who owned both the Minnesota high school all-time record of 16-feet-2 and the Minnesota State Track and Field Meet record (16-0), set a new Minnesota high school mark on Saturday. He did it by sailing 16-feet, 9 inches. That is a full 7 inches higher than he’d ever sailed before.

Pine Island senior Jarod White broke his own state track-and-field record in the pole vault, going 16 feet to easily win the event for the second straight year.

“I was extremely surprised,” White said. “I wasn’t even expecting to clear the bar (at any height) in that meet because I was so out of my element. There was something about the runway there that felt really weird. And then, I’d been camping that entire weekend with my (pole-vaulting) team. I woke up twice the night before the competition, in my tent. So I was stunned when I did it (16-9). I was super shocked. I didn’t think I had it in me.”

Desires all met

White entered this past high school track-and-field season hoping for three things. He wanted to break his own state-meet record of 15-9, he wanted to break the all-time state record of 16-1 3/4 and he wanted to truly reach for the sky and clear 16-5.

He checked off two of those things from his wish list during the high school season, going 16 feet to repeat as the state-meet champion. A week before that he cleared 16-2 to set the all-time Minnesota pole vault record.

That left him with one more thing on his to-do list and he had until the end of July — when he no longer qualifies as a high schooler — to get it done.

Now, that to-do list is all crossed off.

“I was flabbergasted when I went 16-9,” White said. “I was bouncing off the wall, on Cloud 9.”

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The truth is, White didn’t soar to that unimaginable height thanks to his two-day tent stint, all of those pre-meet hours in the sun and that wonky runway. He did it in spite of all that.

In retrospect, what he had working for him was rest. Once the high school season ended on June 11, White almost completely put his pole vault away until this trip to Michigan.

“I had just two practices ever since the high school season ended,” he said. “I needed to just rest my body and recover fully. Once I did that, the vault just came together for me.”

Among high school seniors, White’s 16-9 clearance ranks seventh nationally this season. The top mark belongs to Texas’ Carlton Rhodes, 17-6.

Pat has been a Post Bulletin sports reporter since 1994. He covers Rochester John Marshall football, as well as a variety of other southeastern Minnesota football teams. Among my other southeastern Minnesota high school beats are girls basketball, boys and girls tennis, boys and girls track and field, high school and American Legion baseball, volleyball, University of Minnesota sports (on occasion) and the Timberwolves (on occasion). Readers can reach Pat at 507-285-7723 or pruff@postbulletin.com.
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