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Pole Vault 101 with the Hallsville Bobcats

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In the world of track and field sports, pole vaulting is usually an event fans are less than familiar with.

Well, and the Hallsville Bobcats pole vaulting team hope to familiarize you with the often under-appreciated sport.

Thomas Holson has coached pole vaulting at Hallsville for eight years. In that span, he’s guided four pole vault athletes — Marques Hicks, Barrett Brock, Heather Ballew, and Tristin Crayton — to the Class 4A state track and field championships.

Holson takes four pole vaulters to this weekend’s District 13-4A/District 14-4A area meet with hopes of qualifying for the 4A Region II meet next week in Arlington.

East Texas’ top pole vaulter is Harmony’s Daven Murphree, who gained national recognition when he won the New Balance Indoor Nationals on March 9 in New York with a vault of 17 feet, 1 inch. The Stephen F. Austin State signee vaulted 17 feet, 8.6 inches at the Texas Relays in Austin three weeks ago. As long as he qualifies for the state meet, he’ll be the prohibitive favorite to win his third consecutive Class 2A state championship.

So how do these pole vault athletes do what they do? Check out the video above by staff photographer Christopher Vinn.

Pine Tree’s Brittany Conway pole vaults during the Wildcat Relays in Whitehouse on April 5. (Christopher Vinn,


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