Photo by Emei Thompson
This week I had the pleasure to talk with senior Wesley Hetcher. Hetcher is a senior pole vaulter on the indoor and outdoor track teams and played football for the Vikings this fall. At the Platteville Invitational, he vaulted 3.41m and over this weekend at the Stevens Point Invitational he vaulted 3.91m, coming close to breaking the school indoor record of 4.29m. Hetcher will try again at the record after reading period February 18th at the Big Dawg Invitational.
Shane Farrell: You play football and pole vault during indoor and outdoor track. What is it like participating in a sport all year round?
Wes Hetcher: It can sometimes be a struggle to be an in-season athlete for 90+ percent of the academic year. Not focusing on one sport for the entirety of the year means I can’t prepare as much, but I like that I can find skills or mentalities that transfer from one to the other. I was also a three-sport athlete in high school, so I guess like most Lawrentians, I’m just used to not taking a break.
SF: How/why did you get into pole vaulting?
WH: My dad coaches high school track, and he was/is always vocal about the state of the team and what sort of competition to expect. We had only a senior vaulting at the time, so he and I both knew someone would need to step up. I figured I’d give it a shot, and from the get-go couldn’t jump enough. Oh, and YouTube. Watching people fall got to be really fun.
SF: How does the indoor team look two meets into the season?
WH: We have a much deeper team than I remember from previous years. We’ve had guys listed with the top 20-30 times/jumps in the nation already, and can augment that with 2 or 3 who are of comparable skill. With Carrol leaving the Midwest Conference (MWC), and “wild card” entries becoming a factor, we can do something special on February 24-25th. We added a lot of young talent, and I’m excited to see just how much we can accomplish. (Hint: a lot)
SF: What are your goals this year for pole vault?
WH: My personal goal is to break out the chisel. I’m within reach, I believe, of the school record for the indoor vault. If it doesn’t come together quite right by then, the outdoor record is waiting as well. To be more abstract about it, I want to be a great teammate. I mentioned we have a fair few freshmen and sophomores with plenty of talent. Helping them develop and remain focused is key to having Vikings on the podium at the conference (or even national) meet over the next years.
SF: You had an impressive vault last meet with a height of 3.41m. How do you feel about it?
WH: Not terribly great, actually. My technique so far this year has been a little spotty, but cleaning up one or two little things can make such a huge difference. It’s simultaneously motivational and frustrating. I know I can go over 4m, it’s just a matter of doing it again and again.