Should Steven Cahoy improve as much in the next 12 months as he has in the last five, then the sky is the limit for the Grand Island (Neb.) junior pole-vaulter Cahoy, the son of former Husker and U.S. Olympic gymnast Phil Cahoy, gave up high school baseball in January to see if he could truly fly. Relying on his gymnastics background to get started, Cahoy improved by leaps and bounds, and on a weekly basis.
Saturday Cahoy accomplished the ultimate in Nebraska high school track and field, winning Class A gold over North Star (Lincoln, Neb.) senior Andrew Tate at Omaha Burke Stadium. Cahoy’s vault of 15 feet, 8 inches also netted the first year vaulter the All-Class gold.
After failing on his third try at 16-feet, in an attempt to eventually break former Kearney (Kearney, Neb.) pole vaulter Brett Maher’s 2008 state meet mark of 16-2, Cahoy’s thoughts turned quickly to his senior season – a season in which he aims to take down Maher’s mark as well as the Nebraska state record of 16-7 set by Beatrice’s Seth Burney in 2006.
“I still have a lot of improving to do. I can still get much better with all of the coaches helping me,” Cahoy said in reference to having gone to workouts with Nebraska pole-vaulting coach Kris Grimes and Hastings College coach Dave McNeel in the offseason. “I still have next year to do it.”
Cahoy was satisfied with playing both football and baseball through his sophomore seasons. But he gave into the pleadings of Islander pole vaulting coach Geoff Cyboron and Cahoy’s parents Phil and Diana. Last July Cahoy, asked if he could join his younger brother Kevin, a Grand Island freshman who has been vaulting since middle school, for a street meet in Aurora.
Cahoy cleared 12-0 then with a bungee cord in place of the crossbar and hasn’t looked back since.
As he prepared for his first high school season of vaulting, Steven joined Kevin for workouts at the University of Nebraska, on Wednesdays, and at Hastings College. Cahoy cleared 13-0 one week at Hastings, 14-0 the next and then 15-0 the week after that.
At his first meet this spring, Cahoy claimed the Grand Island school record for himself by going 15-1. At the Heartland Athletic Conference meet in Lincoln, Cahoy really got people talking by clearing 16-0.
“I was just trying to get 13 feet,” Cahoy said of the expectations he had for himself going into the 2012 season. “Then when I broke 15 feet, coach said I needed to try for 16 feet. Then when I got that, at conference, he decided I needed to go for the state record. That’s what I’m going for next year.”
Cahoy admitted to being a little nervous going into his first vault Saturday. But once he cleared his opening height, the 6-foot-1 junior was ready to go for gold. Following Tatum’s third miss at 15-4, it was time for Cahoy to buckle down and go for the state meet record – and then maybe the state record after that.
With the support of the crowd cheering and clapping behind him, Cahoy cleared 15-8 on his first attempt. But on a breezy day with gusts reaching as high as 30 miles an hour, Cahoy missed on his three attempts to get over 16-0 once again.
“It was awesome,” Cahoy chuckled when asked about the crowd support in the east stadium. “It gets your adrenalin pumping and you want to do good. You feel like you got to pull through for them.”
Cahoy said his gymnastics background played a huge role in his climb atop the charts in such a short amount of time.
“Oh man, that has helped a lot,” he exclaimed. “Well it goes to body control. Just like in gymnastics, it (body control) helps to maneuver through the air and over the bar.”
After watching Cahoy’s climb up the charts this season – he is now the ninth Nebraska high school pole vaulter in state history to reach 16-0. Cyboron only wished he had been able to work with Cahoy a little sooner. But Cyboron realizes everything happens for a reason.
“I never told him he was going to be great,” Cyboron said of Cahoy. “I just told him that I was excited for him to take this opportunity to try vaulting. Because you never know what may come of it.
“He is such a positive kid. Very driven. He works his tail off. I don’t have to tell him what he needs to do to get ready for anything. He’s already doing it.”
Kevin earned fifth place in Class A with a vault of 14-0, then went shopping with his older brother Steven for a new baseball bat. Steven Cahoy has already turned his attention towards playing baseball with Grand Island’s Legion baseball team this summer. more