Buck vaulting toward school record

Junior eclipses 13 feet, aiming higher

Chris Caporale, sports@wolfrivermedia.com

Leader Photo by Chris Caporale Shawano Community High School junior pole vaulter Payden Buck has a personal record of 13 feet and has won each of the three indoor meets so far on the season. The Hawks will participate in their first outdoor meet Tuesday.

Shawano Community High School graduate Dan Boivin talked Payden Buck into going out for the track team.

Now Buck, a junior, is chasing down Boivin’s school record in the pole vault.

“I had known him in middle school, and he talked me into doing track,” Buck said. “I was going to do golf, actually, and he inspired me to do pole vaulting too.”

Buck, who also plays soccer in the fall, has won each of the team’s three indoor meets to start the season. His personal record at 13 feet, 0 inches is just 18 inches shy of Boivin’s school record. Boivin graduated in 2015 and continued his track career at Davenport University in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Buck also runs sprints for the Hawks, which helps with the speed and strength components of becoming a better vaulter. He also said it takes a little bit of craziness to be good as a vaulter and launch yourself that high into the air.

“He’s got great control of his body,” Shawano pole vault coach Tom Egan said. “He can stand there and do a back flip. It’s like, how many people can actually do that? And plus his work ethic is really awesome.”

Buck called Egan after the fall soccer season to begin offseason workouts in preparation for pole vaulting in the spring. Right now, Buck is working on getting his trail leg caught up to the rest of his body, just the next area in which he needs to improve.

Making changes takes a while, especially with the complicated process needed to be successful at the sport.

“It’s like you fix one thing, and then he diverts back to something else,” Egan said. “He’s getting better. He’ll be fine. He should jump, I’m thinking 14 (feet) this year, which would hopefully get him to state.”

The Hawks open the outdoor season on Tuesday at the Bay Conference Relays in Seymour, and have eight meets, including the annual Shawano Invitational (May 9) and the Bay Conference Meet (May 13), at home.

The satisfaction Buck will get if he clears anything above 13 feet will be immense.

“I just love that new feeling of getting over the bar,” Buck said. “When you PR (personal record), it’s the best feeling in the world, honestly.”

But he won’t be stopping there, and who knows just how far he can raise the bar.

“The sky’s the limit,” Buck said.