At the beginning of the year, Providence’s Chad Weaver was not on anyone’s preseason’s form charts of favorites in the Pole Vault in class 3A in the state of Illinois. He was not even on the radar.
The performances that he had in the last two days have made him a huge blip on that radar.
He came into this past weekend with a personal record of 13’ 9”. “I actually cleared 14’ 0” in Pole Vault camp,” Weaver added.
He was scheduled to participate in two vault competitions on consecutive days this weekend. On Saturday, he would compete in the Windy City Pole Vault Summit. He would come back on Sunday to compete in the ICOPS Invitational in Romeoville. A daunting task. But at the same time, a chance to simulate what he would experience in May in Charleston.
It must have been a good sign when he went to his team’s practice on Saturday morning. “At practice yesterday morning, Chad cleared 15’ 6”,” his mother Corey said.
He went to the Summit not as a favorite. He got his first PR by clearing 14’ 3”. The bar was raised to 14” 6”. On his third attempt, he cleared improving his PR by 9”. “Yesterday, I was feeling really good. I was pumped up,” he said. “It was really fun yesterday.”
He went after 15’ 0”. He had good three good attempts, but could not clear. Still, he had the confidence to head into the ICOPS competition.
He woke up on Sunday morning and he was feeling the rigors of competing the night before. “I was kind of sore. On my last attempt last night, I kind of rolled my ankle so I was kind of sore. Taped it up and I didn’t think I was going to do too good. When I entered in this morning, I was getting pumped up.”
On this day, his confidence was on high. Regardless if he was tired and sore, Weaver was going to make the best of the situation that was presented to him.
The night before, he missed 15’ 0” on his second attempt. On his second attempt at the same height on Sunday, his hand was not close to the bar as he cleared it cleanly.
Behind the pit, his mother was standing watching each of her son’s attempts. Each height that Chad cleared, her smile increased getting bigger. This was new territory for her seeing the bar going higher and higher. It was new territory for the entire Weaver family.
“He plays football in the fall,” she said. “He really loves to vault!” The smile increased when she said that.
He started vaulting his freshman year. A coach asked him if he would like to try it. He did and cleared 12’ 3” by the end of the year. The rest, you can say, is history.
For Chad, only a junior, this is only the beginning of great things for him. When he was asked if he has received any phone calls or letters from coaches, he shook his head no. After this weekend, that was about to change. When you increase your PR in this event to this height by 15 inches, you will get noticed. Not only by college coaches but your competition as well.
The end of the month will be new for Weaver. For starters, people will be watching him a little more closer. He will also compete at the IPTT Classic, the unofficial indoor state meet in Illinois.
“I am so excited. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”
He may wake up on Monday morning thinking that the past two days were all a dream. But he will think of all the hard work he has put in along with looking at the results, he will know that it was real.
He will also think that this is only the beginning with higher heights and goals to clear.