GREEN, Ohio — It takes a pole between 10 and 16-feet long and a lot of guts to take on one of the most challenging events in track and field. Speed and strength also help.
Conner McClure, a 19-year-old Green High School senior, checks all of those boxes and has propelled himself to a state record and national recognition in the pole vault.
"I just enjoy getting up in the air and when you're falling down, it's just a great feeling," McClure said. "Once I realized I can jump a certain height, I want to be able to jump higher."
The question remains: How high can he go?
In April, McClure set an Ohio High School state record when he cleared 17'3" in front of a roaring home crowd in Green. The vault beat the previous best mark set in 2012.
"It's definitely a big deal and I'm amazed myself I did it," he said.
The moment was captured on camera by Erich Muzi, Green's athletic director.
"I think everybody had that chest-pounding-- heart in your chest-- and my knees got weak and I sat behind it and videoed it and just to set, it was truly special," Muzi said.
It wasn't McClure's only monumental moment of 2021. In February, he won the Indoor Nationals. His best outdoor vault this spring is currently listed at the highest in the country, according to MileSplit, which documents statistics in track and field.
"It's kind of unbelievable that I have that," McClure said.
The teen was also quick to credit his coaches, family, and teammates for his success.
"I'm just so thankful for everyone that has gotten me to this point. I couldn't have done it by myself."
Genetics are also on McClure's side. His father, Mark McClure, is the head track and field coach at Malone University. He was part of the 1986 Green High School track team which won the state title. His mother, Bonnie, was a high school state champion in the 800-meter run in 1987 while running Lakewood High School in Hebron.
McClure is now preparing to vault at a regional track meet in Youngstown on Wednesday. Assuming he clears that competition, he will begin to focus on his next goal to win state in June.
He has even higher aspirations. He's planning on pole vaulting in college and is leaning towards attending Virginia Tech. He also dreams of competing in the Olympics.
And why not? Right now, it looks like the sky is the limit for him.
"I just want more and I believe I can get more right now for sure," he said.