BYFIELD — Triton senior pole vaulter Austin Stevens set the bar higher than it’s ever been last week. He cleared 13-71/2 inches in the pole vault, capturing the Division II State Championship while also breaking a school record that has stood for 30 years.
“Obviously I am really happy for him to win it,” said Triton head track coach Joe Colbert. “He’s very passionate about pole vaulting and has worked really hard at it. It has been a goal of his for three years; and every time you see a kid set a goal and go reach it, it is a good feeling for a coach.”
Stevens has been one of the Cape Ann League’s best pole vaulters for a while now. This season he went undefeated in the event and earned CAL All-League honors after winning the event at the league championship meet.
Though he concentrates exclusively on track now, it wasn’t always his lone focus. In fact, it was an acquired taste, as the Viking enrolled in football in the fall of his first high school year before turning exclusively to the more individualized sports of track and cross-country.
Since he first started pole vaulting as a sophomore, breaking the school record has always been one of his top priorities.
“It has been my goal since I started pole vaulting,” Stevens said. “I have shot for that record ever since. I’m just really happy to break it; I worked hard all off-season to get it.”
While Stevens is not the first state champion pole vaulter in Triton’s recent history — as it was achieved twice since 2002 — Stevens can now safely stake his claim as the best. It was a matter of a half an inch, as the 13-foot-7 record has been securely instilled within the Vikings record book for decades.