Blue Springs, MO —Megan Wright wasn’t sure what sport she wanted to concentrate on when she was a freshman at Blue Springs High School. “I knew I was going to be on the swimming team,” Wright said, “but I also wanted to be on the track team. I remember going to practice and watching the pole vaulters and I thought, ‘That could be fun.’” It could also be quite rewarding as she ended a highly successful three-year all-state run on the Wildcats swimming team this year to concentrate on the pole vault. The senior standout broke her own school record with a 12-foot, 4-inch, vault at last week’s Class 4 sectional meet and is one of the favorites Saturday afternoon to challenge Lee’s Summit West’s state-record holder Brittany Kallenberger for a gold medal in the Missouri State Track and Field Championships at Jefferson City.“I’ll never forget my first meet,” Wright said before leaving for Excelsior Springs to work with her personal vaulting coach, Todd Cooper, who reached the Olympic trials before turning to coaching.
“I’d been practicing on the pole vault, but I still didn’t know what I was doing,” she confessed, “when my coach told me I was vaulting in the meet. I asked him, ‘What do I do?’ He said, ‘Put the pole in the box and try to get over the bar.’”
She did – clearing 7-6.
“It was so cool to clear the bar, even though it was just 7-6,” she said, grinning at the memory. “I eventually cleared 9-6, which broke the school record, as a freshman. My sophomore year I jumped 10-6 and then jumped 11-3 to finish second at state my junior year.”
This year, she will face a real challenge from Kallenberger, who set the state record with a 12-9 vault at last week’s sectional meet.
Wright was right behind, with a 12-4 effort.
When asked about a goal in her final high school meet, she glanced skyward, shut her eyes and said, “I want to say 13-0, but I don’t want to jinx myself,” she quipped. “Last year, my best jump came at state. It’s a great atmosphere and this will be my fourth year going to Jeff City.
“It’s fun to see all the fans and it’s more exciting than intimidating, so I’m going to do my best to clear 13-0.”
Following this weekend’s meet, she will begin concentrating on her collegiate career, as she will attend Arkansas State in Jonesboro, Ark
“I’m going to be a Division I pole vaulter,” she said. “I got on the Internet, looked up what some college girls were jumping and found out they were jumping at about the same height I was jumping.”
She made a trip to Arkansas State, talked with coach Jim Patchell, filled out a questionnaire, and the rest is history.
“He called me right away, and I can’t wait for the challenge,” she said. “I’m so excited about this weekend, and I’m not going to be thinking about anything but state. But once I make my final vault, it’s Arkansas State, here I come.”