Wednesday, April 23

I've probably officiated 200-300 track meets over the years, but tonight was a first for me. I'm in Des Moines to work the Drake Relays and tonight they held their first ever (and probably America's first ever) Mall Vault. They set up a pole vault pit and runway in the atrium area of the Jordan Creek Mall and six elite vaulters spent a couple of hours in a very spirited and very good competition. An estimated 2,000 spectators lined the runway, the pit, and the rail along the balcony to watch, clap, and cheer the vaulters. And the vaulters responded. Derek Miles and Mark Hollis both vaulted 18' 8.75" (Miles won on fewer misses, but the was an eight inch personal record for Hollis). Considering the balcony rail was 20 feet off the ground, that gave the fans up there a great view! Also competing were Jacob Pauli, Jeremy Scott (a former Razorback and "world's tallest vaulter" at 6'9"), Derek Niedermeyer, and Jeff Hartwig (American record holder and one of those who put the event - and the runway and pit - together). Everyone was excited about the event - vaulters and spectators and organizers - so it could very well be a regular fixture in Des Moines.

I was my intention to post a couple of pictures of the Mall Vault, but for some reason Blogger is not cooperating.

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