What a ride for three-time state champion
Wiedemeier joins M&O elite list
Monday, June 03, 2013 7:00 PM
CRIVITZ - Pole vaulting can be a fickle event, smooth one day and perplexing the next. For Crivitz's Jake Wiedemeier, it has nearly always been smooth as silk.
Crivitz’s Jake Wiedemeier rides through town in a fire truck Saturday. Wiedemeier won his third consecutive state pole vault title. Special to the EagleHerald
Wiedemeier joined select company at the WIAA Track & Field State Championships Friday. He became the fourth M&O Conference athlete in history to win three state titles in the same event. He joined Peshtigo's Tom Neuman (shot put, 1956-58), Gillett's Keith Martineau (300 hurdles, 2005-07), and Niagara's Jamie Vandenberg (400 run, 2006-08).
On a windy day at UW-La Crosse's Memorial Stadium, Wiedemeier cleared 14 feet to win his third straight title. In an effort to clear 14-6, he switched to a bigger pole that he wasn't used to and failed.
Wiedemeier fell short of the former state record and current school record, 14-9, held by his coach, Scott Banaszak.
"Oh well. Hopefully someone else will come and get higher," Wiedemeier said.
Nobody wanted him to break Banaszak's record more than Banaszak, who constantly pushed Wiedemeier to set the bar higher.
"I think he was a little upset that I didn't get it," according to Wiedemeier.
Heading back to La Crosse, Wiedemeier felt the pressure of being the guy to beat. He was in the same shoes as Ashwaubenon's Alex Flucke, a two-time state champ and co-recordholder of the Division 1 girls' pole vault record (12-6). Unlike Wiedemeier, Flucke had a bad day and settled for fifth at state.
"That's one thing with vaulting - one day you can mess up a couple times, and you're done," Wiedemeier said. "Just like that you can have a bad day."
Instead, Wiedemeier had another great day, and made it to the top of the podium again.
"It was very cool to stand up there for a third time," he said. "It was a lot of work, A lot of Sundays, a lot of late nights and rainy days. It's all worth it in the end."
On Saturday, he got to ride through Crivitz in a fire truck for the third straight year. He was accompanied by teammates George Beattie and Ben Fischer, and was greeted by signs on the highway and by a small parade.
Wiedemeier won't ever break Banaszak's school record, but he'll probably surpass that 14-9 threshold. He has received a partial athletic scholarship to compete in track and field at Michigan Tech University. He plans to study mechanical engineering.
"I don't want to give up track yet," Wiedemeier said.