Bingham Pole Vaulter sets record, takes state
Hannah Stetler stands atop the podium at the 2017 Class 5A state track meet (Hannah Stetler/Bingham Track Team)
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Hannah Stetler just wrapped up her freshman year at Bingham High School, and like most 15-year-olds, she is looking forward to summer vacation. But, unlike most 15-year-olds, she won a state championship, setting a new record while doing it.
When the season was still in its infancy, Hannah set a record height in the pole vault at 11 feet, 6 inches at the UVU Invitational, where she quickly earned a reputation as a top-notch competitor with some serious ability.
Hannah comes from a family of track athletes, but she was a gymnast before she was in junior high. She switched to track in seventh grade and hasn’t looked back. Her coach, Kody Pierce, said her gymnastics background is certainly an asset while attempting to clear the pole but said she is a unique talent, and that is what separates her from the remainder of the field.
“More than anything, Hannah’s drive and motivation to be the best is what I think makes her so special,” Pierce said.
Hannah started the year with goals in mind, one of which was that she wanted to clear 12 feet, which is 6 inches higher than the record she set early in the spring. There is another young lady at Westlake High School who broke the initial record by an inch, giving Hannah more motivation to get to the 12-foot goal she had to begin the year.
Hannah approaches her goals as both a place to get to and a place to push off from. Once she accomplishes a goal, she sets a new one, and, bit by bit, inch by inch, she was able to accomplish all of what she set out to do in 2017.
“I am excited all of the hard work has paid off and that I was able to perform at a high level,” she said. “Goals are a huge part of my life; it’s time to set new ones.”
At the state tournament, Hannah accomplished her goal of clearing 12 feet in the pole vault. But, she wasn’t the only one. The young lady from Westlake, Adara Christiansen, also made it over the 12-foot mark. The two, who had gone back and forth throughout the season, setting records, were neck and neck at the top of the 5A competition. Finally, Hannah earned the top spot on the podium by having more successful attempts than her adversary.
Hannah, by her own admission, is a big dreamer, not unlike many people. But, she also knows how to pull apart a dream to see what small accomplishments are going to add up to the desired finished product. She is also capable of setting after those smaller, more manageable chunks of her dreams, knowing she is always inching closer to something big.
“I know what it’s going to take to get to the dreams,” she said. “I know that there is always more to be done, and I am proof that you really can accomplish your dreams.”
Next season, Hannah will only be a sophomore who has set and broken her own state records and made it all the way to the top of her chosen field event. She has unconditional support from her family, which, according to the coach, never miss a moment of Hannah’s pursuits. And, she has a coach who was a pole vaulter himself and has over a decade of coaching experience, who feels that Hannah is already prepared to take on the world.
“If she can take that focus and motivation, and the lessons she learns in vaulting, there’s nothing that she won’t be able to accomplish,” Pierce said.
Next year, Hannah’s goal is to clear 13 feet.