Chase Smith returned home over the weekend to participate in the Last Chance Pole Vault Festival. The Montana state record holder in the pole vault took time to reflect on his first year at the University of Washington.
“I thought my freshman year in college is going to be easier than my senior year in college when it comes to classes,” Smith said.
He learned quickly he was wrong.
“Ten Times harder than I thought it was going to be,” Smith said. “It was kind of like I had to find that healthy balance between training and class work.”
The training on the track paid off. The Helena High alum bested his personal record by six inches.
Over the course of 20 meets, I’ve only PR’d centimeters at a time,” Smith said. “It’s just happens so much that it accounted to six inches.”
Smith said family support played a big role in his success. Mom and dad had no problem traveling over 1,000 miles round trip several times to see him compete, but it was nerve racking.
“Right now, I’m real proud,” Barbara Smith said. “I’m not good at watching those 17-foot jumps.”
Bill Hurford coached Smith at Helena High and sees a trip to Tokyo and the 2020 Summer Olympics in his future. The former Bruin would need to add 18 inches over the next three years to meet the qualifying standard, and Coach has little doubt.
“There is no number,” Coach Hurford said. “He has to work hard to become what he wants to be.”
But what does smith think about the lofty expectations.
“At the end of my senior year, is when the next Olympics is,” Smith said. “So I have the next four years to train and make the Olympics as a U-Dub athlete.”