BERLIN — A Stephen Decatur High School (SDHS) senior reaffirmed his record breaking pole vault at the State Track and Field Conference at Morgan State University on May 28.
Brad Hollowell repeated the 15-foot, 3-inch vault that won him the event at the Bayside Conference earlier this month when he broke the previous state record by one inch. However, because the Bayside meet isn’t a state event, Hollowell didn’t technically break the record at the time.
It wasn’t until he matched his performance at the state championship that his number became official. The vault also surpassed his previous showing at last year’s state conference, where Hollowell went 14 feet, 6 inches to capture that year’s title and a new SDHS record.
“I knew it was my last meet, so I had to push hard,” said Hollowell of this year’s championship.
He managed to top the old record despite less than ideal weather conditions. A strong head wind disrupted many vaulters and generally kept attempts lower. However, Hollowell, who has now won four consecutive state championships, decided to gamble and attempted a repeat of the feat he accomplished at Bayside. It was a risk that paid off and he set 15 feet, 3 inches as the new number to beat, which was Hollowell’s goal for the season.
“The best way to pole vault is to stay calm,” said Hollowell when asked if he’d worried about the wind costing him a record.
However, he did admit the difficult to gauge conditions likely kept other vaulters who had a good chance of placing from doing so at least a few times.
The win in the pole vault helped the SDHS boys’ team achieve 7th place overall at the event. While the meet marked the end of Hollowell’s official high school career, he doesn’t plan on calling it a career.
On June 11, he will attend a meet in north Hagerstown, where he will attempt to beat the record he just set with a 15-feet, 6-inch vault.
Beyond that, Hollowell expects to continue vaulting in college when he attends the University of North Carolina Wilmington.
When asked if he felt like he ended his high school career on a good note, Hollowell responded that he had and that he was proud to graduate with a record.
Hollowell celebrated another victory Wednesday when he joined hundreds of his classmates at the Ocean City Convention Center for the SDHS graduation ceremony.