Pole Vaulter Leaps into Record Breaking Victories


Armand Duplantis during an event at Mt. SAC Relays. Luis Olguin/SAConScene

Mt. SAC hosted the annual Mt SAC Relays the weekend of April 13-15. One of the most anticipated participants this year at the relays was a high school pole vaulter by the name of Armand Duplantis. Duplantis competed at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, April 15 at El Camino College in Torrance.

The track world is in awe of the young man’s recent indoor season and enjoyed seeing him compete on the west coast. According to The Baton Rouge (Louisiana) Advocate, the Lafayette High School junior recently broke the world junior record by 4 inches with a jump of 19 feet 4 1/4 inches.

The appearance of Duplantis caused a lot of buzz for the Relays. Giovanni Lanaro, assistant coach for the Mt. SAC track team, is a key player for the setup and facilitation of the Relays.

“I think it’s great exposure for not only our sport, but also the pole vault, to have a young man who is on track and field news and who is all over every internet site come to our meet,” Lanaro said. “Anytime we can have a good performance at our meet or have something set up for a good performance, I think it’s good for us and that’s what we try to do is to set up a good venue so people can jump high, run fast and throw far.”  

Lanaro and the Mt. SAC track faculty did everything they could to get the stage ready for Duplantis’s arrival.

“We’re preparing to try to put on the best event or the best runway and pit for him, that’s how we are preparing for him,” Lanaro said. “[We’re] just trying to give him the best possibilities to jump as high as he possibly can.”

It seemed inevitable that Duplantis would have seen great heights at the Relays, but just how high? It was assumed by many that the young phenom would break records.

“Oh, there’s no doubt if he just jumps what he can jump he’s going to break every record there is to break at Mt. SAC,” Lanaro said.

“The overall best jump is 19 feet 1 inch and he’s going to break that easily, and that’s the elite vault. He’ll break the high school record easily, so I think he has the possibilities of surpassing the best jump ever at the Mt. SAC Relays and quite possibly beat every single elite vaulter in the field that he is going to be jumping not against, but at the same time.”

Duplantis’ talent and success brought crowds to the Relays because spectators wanted to see him in action on Saturday. Lanaro agreed.

“Well there’s no doubt there, any track fan that loves track and field will come to the meet because track fans usually love every event,” Lanaro said.

He added that in addition to the masses of people that already attend the Relays, Duplantis’ presence attracted many local high school pole vaulter fans.

The Relays is a highly anticipated annual event with Duplantis’ presence as an added draw.

“I think he’s ready to come down here and jump as high as he possibly can, and I think the crowd is going to react great,” Lanaro said. “A lot of people know he’s coming and I think a lot of people are very excited. You can hear the buzz all over the websites and on social media, and I think he’s going to have a good time. I think he’ll be surprised.”

Duplantis lived up to expectations by breaking the previous high school meet record with a jump of 18 feet 3 inches, which was another high school boys leading mark. Duplantis took the second highest vault of the day at the Relays; the first being Japan’s very own elite, Seito Yamamoto, who had a jump of 18 feet 8 inches.