Helena's Chase Smith Making History in Pole Vault - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Helena's Chase Smith Making History in Pole Vault

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It was the vault heard around the state. Thanks to social media, just moments after it happened, everyone in Montana knew Chase Smith had done something special. 

"I think it was the weather," said Smith. "Honestly, it was probably the perfect weather conditions I could ever have."

First Smith cleared the record of 15 feet 9 inches, set by former Bengal Todd Foster in 1988, with a 16 foot jump. And then followed that up with a new personal record of 16 feet 5 inches. 

"It's about time someone broke it," said Smith. "I think we're the only state that had a record under 16 feet."

"He is the first kid ever to clear 16 feet in the state of Montana, ever" said Helena pole vault coach Bill Hurford. "No one has ever jumped higher. So that is a state best. And for him to clear 16 feet 5 inches is just another notch."

Going into each jump Smith tries his best to avoid knowing how high the bar is to make sure he stays calm. But that becomes a bit more difficult when getting ready for a record breaking jump.

"When I'm the last one up I only choose my starting height," said Smith. "After that I let Bill decide. I don't want to know what height it is. He can tell me after I clear the bar. And every time they announce it I always cover my ears because I don't want to hear it and get mentally messed up."

Smith doesn't plan on stopping at 16-5 either. He wants to go even higher next month at state and beyond. Last week Chase signed with the University of Washington to continue his pole vault career, but it was the academics that drew him to the Huskies.

"Throughout my whole college process I wanted to make sure first thing first was academics," said Smith. "I know that's important so I wanted a good school for academics and UW offers that. And then I met Pat Licari and I knew that was obviously a program that was going to help me succeed in the future."

The sky is literally the limit for Chase Smith's pole vaulting career. He's reached new heights on Tuesday, and he can't wait to solidify his place in history next month at state.

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