Mondo Duplantis (Lafayette, Louisiana) has single-handedly made this the greatest year ever for high pole vault marks by preps.
But, notes High School Editor Jack Shepard, “This is the year for 18-footers, whether we include Mondo or not.”
Leading the charge is KC Lightfoot (Lees Summit, Missouri), who climbed to No. 2 on the all-time prep list with his 18-5 at his District meet on May 12. It was his fifth straight 18-foot meet. At State he ran his total to 6 in a row.
¶Omitting Mondo, the most 18-foot clearances in one season was 5, all by Chris Nilsen (Park Hill, Kansas City) in ’16. To date in ’18 we have had 12, 10 outdoors, 2 indoors. Lightfoot has 7 of those clearances, all outdoors (see chart).
¶The most 18-foot performers in one year prior to ’18 was 2 in ’16—Mondo & Nilsen. This year there have been 5, including Mondo.
¶The non-Mondo record for consecutive 18-foot meets is now 6 by Lightfoot. The previous best was 2 by Chris Nilsen in ’16 and Shawn Barber (Park, Kingwood, Texas) in ’12.
¶The Mondo record for consecutive 18-foot meets is 12 (3 final outdoor meets of ’17, all 6 indoors this year, then 3 early ’18 outdoor). Mondo also has the second longest streak at 7 (all 6 indoors of ’17 then his opening outdoor meet).
Lightfoot joined the 18-foot club on April 12 and then fired up his engines again and moved to =No. 4 all-time with an 18-3 clearance. “I was dreaming of different PRs and gotten them, but this one was a little extra-special, obviously,” he told Dave McQueen of the Kansas City Star. “Breaking the 18-foot barrier is pretty big for high-school pole vault. And then to actually go even farther… that was crazy.”
After meets of 18-1 and 18-0 Lightfoot got a chance to go crazy again at District and he did, clearing 18-0 before making the 18-5, passing Nilsen (18-4½) and Barber (18-3½) on the all-time list. He failed at 18-8, noting that warm weather and fatigue were beginning to set in.
“Mondo’s obviously putting on a show and showing what high schoolers can do,” Lightfoot told Mary Albi of DyeStat. “He’s definitely motivated everyone because everyone wants to jump that high.”
(Update: on the last weekend of May Lightfoot upped his streak to 6 straight by clearing 18-0 at his State Meet.)