Patriots News · A Patriot Aiming Higher – Story of a Pole Vaulter


Real Truman Track and Field/XC News

A Patriot Aiming Higher – Story of a Pole Vaulter

After a year lay off, Junior Hayden Kunkel is finally healthy again. COVID 19 didn’t help the process of development losing out on his sophomore year of spring training and competitions. In his freshman year, he jumped 10’6ft to set the freshman record for boys at Truman. Then came the injuries, and then COVID 19. Almost a year later, Hayden Kunkel is back. He stamped the approval letter of his comeback during the July 2nd ISD Track and Field meet with a new Personal Record of 11-6ft. He wasn’t exactly satisfied with his performance though, “I feel like I could’ve jumped higher at the meet if I did a few other things correctly” said Hayden. His coach states that Hayden shows lots of promise but is working through some tough technical issues learning how to take off free and finish his jumps. “He’s got an admiral plant but he understands he’s not quite there yet. Learning the timing and technique of finishing the jump has been the most challenging for Hayden so far this summer in his training, but he’s been very dedicated and willing to learn.”
The Patriots train at least three days a week in the summer months “In regards to training, I’ve been pole vaulting three times a week” says Kunkel. Coach Summers states, “We do train three days a week working on takeoff, finishing, and turning over in different sessions. Hayden has unique gymnastic-like qualities that will help him once he learns how to finish his jumps up top. He can be dangerous once he learns how to navigate that part of the vault.” Coach Summers would know, he has coached countless all-state 15ft pole vaulters at his last stop, as well as a state champion. “He (Hayden) has some real qualities to be an all-state jumper, but he needs to keep working on his craft. It does not come easy or overnight, pole vaulting is one of the most challenging & dynamic events in track and field. It takes supreme dedication mentally and physically.” The talented junior does not shy away from setting goals though for his next comeback season. “My goals are at least to clear 14ft and to make it to state,” says Kunkel.