Gothenburg pole vaulter to compete against top athletes from across the country

GOTHENBURG, Neb. (KNOP) - Tyce Hruza started pole vaulting in seventh grade. In eighth grade, he completed a vault of ten feet, ten inches, and by the end of the season had completed a vault of 14 feet. Hruza's success developed a love for the event.

Tyce Hruza is a two-time state champion, and state record holder. He will be going against top competitors from across the country at the Capitol District Pole Vault (Credit: Patrick Johnstone/KNOP-TV)

"I went from ten foot to 14, and I was like, this is what I want to do," Hruza said.

Since then, Hruza has improved, qualifying for the state meet all four years of high school, finishing second as a sophomore, and first as a junior and senior. In his senior season, Hruza broke the state high school record, with a vault of 16 feet, 7.25 inches.

Now, Hruza is preparing for his next big challenge; the Capitol District Pole Vault in Omaha on Aug. 1. He will be competing against seven other high school athletes from Missouri, Ohio, Louisiana, Nebraska, Michigan, and California.

Hruza is excited for the opportunity to compete. "It should be really fun, we're all there just to jump, so you get a bunch of good guys to come vault, and you just have a blast," he said.

His goal this season was to hit a vault of 17 feet, and he wasn't able to meet that mark, so he is hoping to top 17 feet at the competition.

In addition to the high school competitors, there will be an elite competition as well, which features American Olympians Sandi Morris and Sam Kendricks, who each earned a medal in pole vault at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Hruza hopes to be able to meet Morris and Kendricks, and ask them for pointers on how to improve his technique.

"I want to figure out how to get through the top of the pole better, to fly off higher, because right now I can only jump about a foot over my handle, but they jump four feet, three feet over their handle," Hruza said.

If he performs well at the Capitol District Pole Vault, it is possible Hruza earns a qualification to the 2019 IAAF World Championships in Athletics, which takes place in Doha, Qatar.