SHOREVIEW — Jagger Gran, a young man with a cool-sounding name and the ability to soar more than 15 feet in the air, sounds like he could be a comic book hero. Despite his action-hero name and aerial ability, Gran is actually a 5’11’’, 165-pound, recently graduated 18-year-old from Mounds View High School. And no, he doesn’t have superpowers. The way he’s able to fly through the air is by running with a giant 15-foot pole from distances of up to 115 feet, planting said pole into an 8-inch deep metal hole called “the box”, then launching himself over a bar that’s upwards of 15 feet in the air. It’s all part of pole vaulting and Gran is one of the best in the state of Minnesota. He’s received interest from St. Cloud State University, the University of Minnesota, the University of Minnesota-Duluth and the University of Sioux Falls, all on account of his vaulting acumen.
Unlike the flamboyant strut made famous by his namesake Mick Jagger, the moves this Jagger has honed are part of a deliberate and repeatable technique he’s crafted over four years.
“The difference between the vault and other sports is that you can’t get super hyped up,” said Gran. “What I’ve learned is to clear your head, because there are a lot of distractions.”
For Gran each vault is a complex process that requires precision and focus. It begins with the pole in his hands and a collection of carefully orchestrated steps — anywhere from two to 16. The first few are slower in order to build power, and near the end of his run he’s near a full sprint.
As he reaches maximum speed he plants the pole with his hands as high as possible. On his last step, he jumps as high as he can. As the pole straightens out he swings upside down; still rising, he turns and throws himself off the pole. Legs go the bar over first, followed by his torso. Then it’s a 12-foot fall to the mat.
Despite battling shinsplits that sometimes left him limping the day after a meet, Gran blazed his way to a record-breaking senior campaign this season.
He broke Mound View’s indoor and outdoor records, he broke two-man relay records (his jump combined with the best jump of his next best teammate), and he broke the record at the section meet on his way to qualifying for state. He set a personal record when he jumped 15’7’’ at the Hamline Elite Meet. more