Top pole vaulters from the US and many others to test their skills at Grand Haven Beach Vault

Local Sports Journal

GRAND HAVEN — Some outstanding pole vaulters are again expected to be competing Friday and Saturday in the Grand Haven Beach Vault.

The two-day open competition is grouped by age and qualifying heights using two pole vault pits.

All of the competition will be on the Grand Haven City Beach south of Grand Haven State Park and adjacent to the Bil-Mar Restaurant, 1223 S. Harbor Drive, Grand Haven.

Among the expected performers are some Elite Invite vaulters. Included in those is Shawn Barber, of the University of Akron. He is ranked 20th in the world and is the Canadian national champion. He has personal bests of 18-feet-nine-inches outdoors and 18-feet-10-inches indoors. Barber won the 2014 Indoor NCAA Division I national championship and finished second in the outdoor nationals.

Max Babits, of Eastern Michigan University; Sean Young, of the University of South Florida; and Bryant Wilson, of Grand Valley State University also have cleared 18-feet either indoors or outdoors.

In the women’s competition are Kristen Hixson, of GVSU; Katie Nageotte, of Ashland University; Melissa Gergel, of the University of Oregon. All three have cleared 14-feet both indoors and outdoors.

Nageotte competed at the U.S. National Championships in 2014. She is ranked 29th in the world standings. Hixson is the NCAA Division 2 national outdoor champion and Gergel won the NCAA Division 1 national championship.

Friday’s vault schedule has competition starting at10 a.m. for the 15-and-16-year-old boys division 1 and girls division 1 entrants of the same age. The boys 17- and 18-year-old division 1 and girls of the same age and division will start at 3 p.m. The boys and girls 15-16 division 2 entrants will vault starting at 12:30 p.m., and the boys and girls 17-18 division 2 entrants will compete starting at 5:30 p.m.

Saturday’s schedule has the competition starting at 9:30 a.m. for the masters and boys 14-and-under. The college men and girls 14-and-under are scheduled to compete noon-2 p.m.

The elite women and men and the college women will compete 2:30-4 p.m.

The high school elite men and high school elite women will vault 4-6 p.m.

Further information on the meet may be obtained by going to the meet’s web site —

Check out a little video from some of last summer’s action.

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