JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Arkansas State track and field will be on the national stage one week from now. Three Red Wolves qualified for the NCAA Track and Field Championships.
Michael Carr’s Road to Austin in the pole vault was paved right here in Jonesboro.
So how did the former football and soccer player get introduced to the pole vault?
“Going into 7th grade, summer year, Daniel Ryland, an A-State alum, he contacted an intramural soccer coach, that I was just playing soccer with. He was like, hey, have your soccer players come out and do some speed and agility training, maybe they can try pole vault. And so me and a couple of my friends, including my brother, we went out to Bell Athletics, which is down towards Cash, and we just started pole vaulting. I fell in love with it. I like to say that pole vaulting found me. Because everything that I loved about gymnastics was in pole vaulting. And plus there was a good solid number that you could go by instead of like a judge giving you a number.”
Carr punched his ticket to the NCAAs with a 4th place finish in the West Prelim in Sacramento, California.
“I had made every bar in my first attempt, and that’s a really big deal. And so there were 13 people that made 5.31 meters, 17 feet 5 inches. So I went to 17-7. As soon as one guy missed it, and I made it, I knew that I was in.”
Longtime A-State assistant coach Matt Vining tutors Carr. “Just to see him get that next bar, to no doubt it, to get in, tied for 4th. It was a really proud moment. Every time you recruit a pole vaulter, every time you talk to a kid on the phone, it’s the next goal. To try to live up to the legacy of those guys that came before us, Earl Bell, Jeff Hartwig. Earl coached Michael a little bit, Daniel Ryland coached Michael a little bit in high school. For him to get to live up to the legacy that they set, it’s the goal for he and I together as a team.”
Michael Carr competes Wednesday, June 5th in the NCAA pole vault final. Watch him at 6:30pm on ESPN3.