OMAHA — Third time proved the charm for Sutherland’s Connor Floyd on Friday.
After watching a field of more than 20 pole vaulters in Class D scratch as the bar inched closer to 14 feet, the junior Sailor sailed over 14-02 and won the gold after coming away with silver a year ago.
"It feels really good," Floyd said. "Hard work paid off, so I want to thank my teammates for pushing me to do this as hard as I can."
Floyd bested High Plains Community’s Jarrett Parsons and BDS’ Aaron Mick by nearly a foot, but he kept at it for three more attempts by competing against the elusive 15-05 mark, which he came close to clearing in the third and final attempt.
The secret? Technique.
"It’s all technique for me now," Floyd said. "After you start getting higher heights, the technique is everything."
He admitted that although his personal best sits at 14-06, there’s no harm in getting a head start in gunning for next year’s goal — a lofty one that can ultimately solidify his legacy in NSAA pole vaulting lore.
"I want to attempt to break the Class D record and get all-class gold," Floyd said. "That’s the goal next year, and I’m sticking with it."
Cozad’s Megan Burkholder also snagged gold in the girls Class B pole vault finals, although she had little idea how high she was actually getting at the time.
"It was 11-03, right?" Burkholder chuckled. "They don’t tell me the heights before I clear them, so it doesn’t really matter if I’ve done it before or not. That’s the system we’ve got worked out."
Instead, Burkholder focused on the bar looming above her sight and casted aside all and any distractions to finish almost a foot ahead of silver medalist Samantha Schemper of Holdrege.
"This sport is about who’s got it that day," Burkholder said. "You have to be confident in yourself and know what you’re going to do before you do it. I didn’t even realize that most of the girls were all going out. I was focused on what I needed to clear."