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Messages - Chris

Saturday, July 6, 2013 - Sunday, July 7, 2013
Eden Prairie High School

2013 "Beginner to Bubka" Pole Vault camp featuring Alan Launder of Austrailia, author of the popular book "From Beginner to Bubka and Isinbayeva too!".  Mr. Launder has a very long history of coaching success and has learned from some of the best pole vault coaches in the world including Vitaly Petrov the coach of world record holders Sergey Bubka and Yelena Isinbayeva.

Click here for more infomation on Alan Launder.

Why should you or your coach attend this camp?

Assisting Mr. Launder will be local coaches Chris Milton and Phill Erickson

About Chris Milton:
Chris Milton is in his second year as the pole vault coach at Eden Prairie.  Prior to EP he coached for 9 years at Robbinsdale Armstrong. 
Chris has coached 3 state champions, 15 all state performances and 20 state qualifiers in the pole vault since he began coaching in 2002. Most notably, he coached the 2005 and 2006 girls state AA pole vault champion to an all time state meet record of 12-9, a personal best of 13-3 and the 4th best jump in the nation for a high school athlete in 2006.
Chris graduated from the University of St. Thomas in 2001 with a BA in computer science. At St. Thomas, Chris was a three time MIAC conference pole vault champion and placed second three times. Before St. Thomas, Chris attended Minneapolis Washburn HS where he qualified for the state meet twice and was all state his senior year. Chris has a lifetime personal best of 16-0. He is also USATF Level 1 Certified.

About Phill Erickson:
Phill Erickson is in his fourth year as an assistant track & field coach specializing in pole vault at Concordia University.
During his time at Concordia, athletes have qualified for nationals five times, and broken multiple school and stadium records. Under his instruction his athletes have averaged a 16-inch improvement in their personal bests. Along with coaching at Concordia, Erickson coaches the boys and girls pole vault at Irondale High School in New Brighton, Minn. During his nine years at Irondale he has coached 10 all-state athletes, including three runners-up.
Phillgraduated from the University of Minnesota with a B.A. in Music Education in 2009. Before transferring to the University of Minnesota, he spent a year competing in the pole vault for the University of Wisconsin â€" River Falls. He is a USATF level 1 certified coach and also holds a USTFCCCA Technical Certification.

Click on the following link for a camp schedule and to register.

I hope to see you there!
To my knowledge Grant is the first high school boy to jump 16+ in Minnesota.  He jumped 4.91m or 16-01.25 at the New Balance Indoor Games over the weekend. Grant has attended many of Flight Deck's camps over the past several years.  It is nice to see his hard work pay off.

Event 33  Boys Pole Vault
Flight 1 at 12:00pm; Flight 2 at 3:00pm
Progression:  Open at 14-3.5, then 14-9.5, 15-3.5, 15-9.25,
16-1.25, 16-5.25,16-9.25,17-1, 17-5, 17-7.5, 17-9.75
    National: N 17-09.25  6/11/2011   Andrew Irwin, Mt. Ida, AR               
        Meet: M    17-05  3/13/2007   Maston Wallace, Clr Brk,Friendswood, TX 
   NSIC Meet: I    17-06  3/17/1985   Brandon Richards, S Marcos,Sta Barbara, C
      Armory: A 17-03.75  3/12/2011   Andrew Irwin, Mt. Ida, AR               
    Freshman: F 15-06.25  3/4/2006    Corey Shank, Canterbury, IN             
   Sophomore: O    16-09  1994        Jacob Davis, Orangefield, TX             
      Junior: J 17-06.25  5/11/2010   Andrew Irwin, Mt. Ida, AR               
    Name                    Year School                  Finals           
  1  3789 Daven Murphree      13 Una-Tx-Winns             5.21m   17-01.00
     4.36 4.51 4.66 4.81 4.91 5.01 5.11 5.21 5.29
      PPP  PPP  PPP  PPP    O    O   XO    O  XXX
  2  1557 Dylan Duvio         13 J Curtis Chr             5.11m   16-09.25
     4.36 4.51 4.66 4.81 4.91 5.01 5.11 5.21
      PPP  PPP    O    O    O  XXO  XXO  XXX
  3  3723 Matthew Rowland     13 Una-Oh-Belle             5.01m   16-05.25
     4.36 4.51 4.66 4.81 4.91 5.01 5.11
      PPP   XO   XO    O    O  XXO  XXX
  4  3621 Craig Hunter        13 Una-Nj-Robbi             4.91m   16-01.25
     4.36 4.51 4.66 4.81 4.91 5.01
        O    O    O   XO  XXO  XXX
  4  3577 Fredrick Krieger    13 Una-Mn-Orono             4.91m   16-01.25
     4.36 4.51 4.66 4.81 4.91 5.01
      PPP    O    O   XO  XXO  XXX
  6  1574 Devin King          14 Jewel M. Sum             4.81m   15-09.25
     4.36 4.51 4.66 4.81 4.91
      PPP  PPP    O    O  XXX
  7  3870 Tim Moses           13 VaultWorX-PA             4.66m   15-03.50
     4.36 4.51 4.66 4.81
        O    O    O  XXX
  7  3658 Justin Farrenkopf   13 Una-Ny-Ellen             4.66m   15-03.50
     4.36 4.51 4.66 4.81
        O    O    O  XXX
  9  1638 Ethan Smith         13 Kinesis Dyna            J4.66m   15-03.50
     4.36 4.51 4.66 4.81
      XXO    O    O  XXX
10  2044 Aaron Owens         13 Midpark Tc-O            J4.66m   15-03.50
     4.36 4.51 4.66 4.81
      PPP  PPP   XO  XXX
10  3787 Barrett Poth        14 Una-Tx-Sprin            J4.66m   15-03.50
     4.36 4.51 4.66 4.81
      PPP    O   XO  XXX
10  3474 Cameron Robichaux   13 Una-La-Mande            J4.66m   15-03.50
     4.36 4.51 4.66 4.81
        O    O   XO  XXX
13   101 Michael Jensen      13 Appoquinimin            J4.66m   15-03.50
     4.36 4.51 4.66 4.81
       XO   XO   XO  XXX
14  3715 Todd Uckermark      14 Una-Ny-Warwi            J4.66m   15-03.50
     4.36 4.51 4.66 4.81
        O    O  XXO  XXX
15  1018 Avery Jones         14 Elite Sportz             4.51m   14-09.50
     4.36 4.51 4.66
        O    O  XXX
16  2330 Eric Geider         13 Northern Val            J4.51m   14-09.50
     4.36 4.51 4.66
       XO    O  XXX
16  3557 Dylan Kole          13 Una-Mi-Grand            J4.51m   14-09.50
     4.36 4.51 4.66
       XO    O  XXX
16  3671 James Steck         13 Una-Ny-Loudo            J4.51m   14-09.50
     4.36 4.51 4.66
       XO    O  XXX
19  3784 Dakota Breaux       13 Una-Tx-Pearl            J4.51m   14-09.50
     4.36 4.51 4.66
       XO   XO  XXX
19  3613 Nick Eckett         13 Una-Nj-Jacks            J4.51m   14-09.50
     4.36 4.51 4.66
       XO   XO  XXX
19  4108 Peter Fagan         13 Westfield TC            J4.51m   14-09.50
     4.36 4.51 4.66
       XO   XO  XXX
22  3585 Joe Zweng           13 Una-Nc-Charl             4.36m   14-03.50
     4.36 4.51
      XXO  XXX
--  2160 Joe Crispi          14 Msgr. Farrel                NH           
--  3798 Robert Yu           13 Una-Va-Great                NH           
--  2081 Jordan Pacheco      13 Morris Hills                NH           
--  3779 Noah Gilfillan      14 Una-Tx-Corsi                NH           
     4.36 4.51 4.66
      PPP  PPP  XXX
--  1492 Patrick Lynch       14 Hudson Val F                NH           
Statistics / Minnesota All Time Best Performance List
February 08, 2013, 03:42:15 PM
This list is the all time personal best for a person who graduated from HS in Minnesota.


Matt Kolb 18-03.00 5.56m 1989
Grey Rappe 18-01.00 5.51m 1984
Shawn Francis 18-01.00 5.51m   2013
Steve White 17-04.50 5.30m   1999
Don Kitzmann 17-04.25 5.29m 1989
Brock Spandl 17-03.00 5.26m   2011
Jon Anderson 17-01.50 5.22m
Chip Malmstrom 17-00.75 5.20m
Ben Mauch 16-06.75 5.04m 2006
Josh Owens 16-06.75 5.04m 2012
Adam Lee 16-06.00 5.03m   2003
Jason Petricka 16-05.25 5.01m 2004
Macauley Spandl 16-05.25 5.01m   2012
Andrew Peterson 16-03.50 4.96m 2004
Matt Masloski 16-03.25 4.95m 2009
Pete Landherr 16-02.00 4.92m 1999
Todd Krueger 16-01.00 4.90m 1981
John Hietala 16-01.00 4.90m 1987
Cevin Petersen 16-00.00 4.88m   1977
Jason Tracy 16-00.00 4.88m   2002
Chris Milton 16-00.00 4.88m   2005

Tim Koupal
Jed Bergstrum
John Gensmer


Katelin Rains 14-05.25 4.40m  2009
Alicia Rue 14-04.50 4.38m  2010
Monica Stearns 14-01.25 4.30m  2004
Stacey Manuel 14-00.00 4.27m  2004
Lauren Stelten 13-06.50 4.13m  2011
Andrea Smith 13-06.25 4.12m  2008
Michelle Legatt 13-05.25 4.10m  2001
Amanda Frame 13-04.50 4.07m  2005
Katie Murgic 12-08.00 3.86m  2012
Karolien Bastiaens 12-06.00 3.81m  2003
Whitney Kroschel 12-06.00 3.81m  2008
Jodi Tarasewicz 12-03.50 3.75m  2000
Caroline White 12-02.50 3.72m  2002
Amanda Aning 12-02.50 3.72m  2004
Amie Fillmore 12-02.50 3.72m  2010
Kate Farnham 12-02.25 3.71m  2004
Danielle Busch 12-02.00 3.71m  2011
Katie Cerling 12-02.00 3.71m  2006
Shannon Stever 12-01.50 3.70m  2011
Breanna Sudman 12-00.00 3.65m  2013

Updated 3/28/2013

Please post below or email me any updates you may have.

Maybe we start with Men 16+ and Women 12+?
Lakeville South is looking for a girls PV coach.

Lakeville South has a great selection of poles to work with.  Andrew is also a great head coach and fully supports the vault program.

Contact: Andrew Hilliard
Phone: 952-232-5278
Janet, Good luck with you future pole vault related endeavors.  You had a great run and much success at Olaf.  If you need a reference, referral or want to discuss HS coaching please let me know.
Quote from: Alicia on June 10, 2012, 02:08:08 PM
When do the Wednesday nights start?!?

According to Steve's post above it starts this coming Wednesday 6/13.
Good article about Minnesota Gopher Vaulter and Multi-Event athlete Jack Szmanda.  


Jack Szmanda admits he is a bit crazy because of the pursuit he chose.

But the Gophers decathlete, who will compete in the NCAA track and field meet starting Wednesday at Drake University, always has been a daredevil.

He grew up in Wausau, Wis., next to a ski hill.

"I went off a couple of jumps that I shouldn't have and tried things -- I have broken many bones," Szmanda said.

His injuries have come ski jumping. Or skateboarding. Or mountain biking. Even pole vaulting, which he says came easily to him in high school.

"[The pole vault] is pretty extreme," Szmanda said.

The event is still his best, but now the 6-3, 210-pound architect-in-training has diversified. He is one of the best college-age "multis," which is how athletes in decathlons, heptathlons and pentathlons refer to themselves.

At the Big Ten meet last month, Szmanda broke the Gophers record in the decathlon with a score of 7,862. He set personal bests in five of the 10 events.

That score is the sixth-highest in the country going into the national meet. It also means Szmanda probably will qualify for the U.S. Olympics trials on June 22 and 23 in Eugene, Ore. He is only 30 points short of the automatic standard in the decathlon, and has met the B standard.

"I never thought I would be at this level," Szmanda said. "It is kind of surreal."

"When we initially looked at him, we thought he would be pretty good," said assistant coach Paul Thornton, who came to the Gophers the same year as Szmanda, a redshirt junior. "[But being] able to place second at the Big Ten meet and you are able to break the University of Minnesota mark, you can never speculate that. And this is [only] his third year doing it, so there is a lot of room for him to actually grow."

Szmanda became comfortable with a heavy workload as an all-conference football player at Wausau Newman High School. He was a hurdler, high jumper and pole vaulter in track, and was a state champion in the latter event.

"They are the three most technical events in the dec," Szmanda said, "so it was easier to transition to just the decathlon [as a Gopher]. It was a good fit. I feel like training for one event would get repetitive and boring."

As a redshirt freshman, Szmanda placed ninth in the seven-event heptathlon at the NCAA indoor meet but, hampered by hamstring injuries as a sophomore, had not qualified for a national meet since then until this week.

In the first of his two decathlons this spring, Szmanda set six personal records at the Mt. Sac Relays in Walnut, Calif., on April 20-21. The Big Ten meet in mid-May in Madison, Wis., was his second test.

"It was great weather, [my] training was where it should have been," Szmanda said. "I was feeling good body-wise. I wasn't sore. I wasn't tired. And it all came together."

He set PRs in the first two events, the 100-meter dash and the long jump, his most inconsistent event.

Then the second day he almost no-heighted in the pole vault, needing three tries to clear his opening height (16 feet, 3 inches).

"I was a little tired from doing the open vault the day before [where he finished third, at 17-3] and the first day of the dec, so I was having a hard time getting down the runway," Szmanda said. "I was putting together the best dec of my life and I was pretty nervous."

He eventually cleared 16-11. The javelin was his next event, the second to last. And Szmanda, obviously relieved, set a PR by about 26 feet, at 178-7. His final 10-event total of 7,862 was only 35 points behind Nebraska junior Bjorn Barrefors, who is Sweden's national champion.

"We are kind of crazy putting ourselves through it," Szmanda said of the mental and physical rigors of the decathlon, "but there are all different kinds of athletes. We are just a different breed. I always have to be doing something."
Camps / ====Evening Pole Vault Camp====
June 04, 2011, 03:27:53 AM

2011 Flight Deck Athletics Evening Pole Vault Camp

We are again at Armstrong High School.

Camp Features:

 -- Alicia Rue, University of  Minnesota NCAA DI All American/Armstrong High School Alumni
 -- Brandon Johnson, Northwestern College NCCAA All American/Armstrong High School Alumni

All poles are included, please don't bring any.  We have everything.
Limited to 8 athletes (4:1 Coaching Ratio)
All athletes will receive a t-shirt

Date/Time: Monday and Thursday (7/11, 7/14, 7/18, 7/21) 6:00-7:45pm*
Cost: $175

*Rain makeup days will occur the next day during the Wednesday night Flight Deck open meets.  We will post here if the camp is canceled by 4:30p the day of the camp.

Athletes, please bring water and a snack as it is usually very warm and drinking fountains aren't close.

To reserve your spot...
1--Print and complete camp Registration Form
2--Write a check made out to Alicia Rue
3--Mail completed registration and check to...
Alicia Rue
317 17th Ave SE
Minneapolis, MN 55414
4--Look for your first name to appear on the reply below when your spot is reserved.

Contact Information:

Email Alicia Rue at or call 612-859-1902 for more information.

Coaches Bio's:

Alicia Rue
This will be Alicia's fourth year coaching the summer camp.  Alicia recently graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in mathematics. She is a NCAA DI 4 time All American in the pole vault.  Alicia most recently was the 2010 Big Ten indoor champion.  In 2009 Alicia was the Big Ten indoor & outdoor champion and the DI NCAA indoor runner-up & outdoor 3rd place finisher.  In 2008, Alicia was the indoor Big Ten champion setting the meet record of 13-9(4.20m). She went on to place fourth at the 2008 NCAA DI indoor meet to earn All American honors. In 2007, Alicia was runner-up at the outdoor Big Ten meet and qualified for the outdoor NCAA Championships. Alicia also qualified for the 2007 USATF Junior National meet where she placed second which qualified her for the Junior Pan American games. At the Pan American games in Brazil, Alicia cleared a personal best to place first and win the gold medal. In high school at Armstrong, with a personal best of 13-3, Alicia was the 2005 and 2006 Minnesota State AA champion and still holds the all time meet record of 12-9. She was ranked 4th for all high school athletes and placed sixth at the USATF Junior Nationals in 2006. Alicia has a personal best of 14-4.5(4.38m).  Alicia is currently in graduate school at the University of Minnesota pursuing her teaching license.  Alicia is also currently training for the US pole vault championships.

Brandon Johnson
This will be Brandon's second year coaching the summer camp.  He is currently the Armstrong High School pole vault coach.  Brandon recently graduated from Northwestern College with a BA in youth ministry.  Brandon was a five time UMAC conference pole vault champion and currently holds both the indoor and outdoor meet records.  He holds the Northwestern College indoor and outdoor school records and finished 3rd at the NCCAA outdoor meet to earn All American honors.  In high school at Armstrong Brandon was a two time state competitor and is the Armstrong school record holder at 14-10.  Brandon has a lifetime PR of 15-1(4.60m).  Brandon is currently working at Lighthouse1 as a Technical Service Associate.
For sale is a used but in great condition line of eight 14' Mystic Carbon poles.  These were Alicia Rue's personal line of poles she used in high school and were only used for 1-2 seasons.  They have a .8 difference between them(with the exception of the 170) which is approximately a 4lb gap between poles.  This would be a great line for any high school or college or open/masters vaulter.

Length   Weight     Flex     Purchased
14'14522.4 2005
14'15021.6 2005
14'15020.8 2005
14'15520.0 2005
14'16019.2 2005
14'16518.4 2005
14'16518.0 2006
14'17017.0 2006

We would like to sell the entire line as a whole including a black plastic tube but would be open to other offers. These poles retailed for over $550/ea when new.

Price: $2800 ($350/ea)  
Poles are located in Minneapolis, MN. Will ship at buyers expense.

Contact me if you are interested.

News / Sonnenberg Repeats as an All-American
March 13, 2011, 07:04:15 PM
Sonnenberg Repeats as an All-American

Minnesota senior Samantha Sonnenberg captured her second career All-America honor placing seventh in the pole vault at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in College Station, Texas, on Saturday. Sonnenberg matched a season-best height clearing the bar at 13 feet, 11 1/4 inches.

Sonnenberg struggled early needing clearing the opening height of 13-1 1/2 on her third attempt. She cleared the next three heights, including her final bar, on her second attempt. Sonnenberg had three attempts at her career-best height of 14-1 1/4, the height she cleared in placing seventh at last year’s NCAA meet. Arkansas junior Tina Sutej won the national title with a height of 14-7 1/4.

Sonnenberg was the only Gopher competing at the NCAA Championships. Minnesota finished with two team points
Congratulations Ben!  Big PR on the big stage!

Place   Athlete Name   Yr   Affiliation   Mark           Pts
1   Lauren Stelten   SR    Minnesota State   4.13m   13-6 ½       10
2   Lauren Graham   SO    UC-Colo. Spgs.   4.13m   13-6 ½       8
3   Jocelyn Kuksa   JR    Grand Valley St.   3.93m   12-10 ¾       6
4   Kristen Hixson   FR    Grand Valley St.   3.93m   12-10 ¾       5
5   Alycia Wagner   JR    Cal St. Stanislaus   3.83m   12-6 ¾       4
6   Becca Clark   FR    Central Washington   3.53m   11-7       3
7   Kimberly Johnson   SO    So. Conn. St.   3.53m   11-7       2
NH   Megan Breski   SO    Shippensburg               
NH   Jamie Roberts   FR    Northern Michigan               
NH   Melissa Peaslee   SR    Seattle Pacific               
NH   Briana Suppes   JR    Colorado Mines               
NH   Kelsey Wilson   JR    Angelo State               
NH   Alexa Tsiknas   SO    Mansfield

Place   Athlete Name   Yr   Affiliation   Mark           Pts
1   Scott Roth   SR    Washington   5.50m   18-0 ½       10
2   Ben Peterson   SR    Minnesota   5.50m   18-0 ½       8
3   Jack Whitt   SO    Oral Roberts   5.45m   17-10 ½       6
4   Nate Polacek   JR    Nebraska   5.45m   17-10 ½       5
5   Victor Weirich   SO    BYU   5.40m   17-8 ½       4
6   Sam Pierson   SR    Idaho State   5.35m   17-6 ½       2.5
6   Hunter Hall   SR    Virginia Tech   5.35m   17-6 ½       2.5
8   Yavgeniy Olhovsky   SR    Virginia Tech   5.35m   17-6 ½       1
9   Karlis Pujats   JR    Memphis   5.25m   17-2 ¾       
9   Chris Little   SR    BYU   5.25m   17-2 ¾       
11   Brian Hancock   SR    Missouri   5.25m   17-2 ¾       
11   Ryan Vu   SR    Washington   5.25m   17-2 ¾       
13   Matt Shuler   SR    South Carolina   5.25m   17-2 ¾       
14   Parker Smith   SR    North Carolina   5.25m   17-2 ¾       
15   Marcus McGehee   SR    LSU   5.15m   16-10 ¾       
NH   Jeremy Klas   JR    Idaho               
NH   Michael Arnold   JR    Idaho State       
Click the link below for a video.

Samantha Sonnenberg Heads to NCAA Championships

Gopher Sports Spotlight took the opportunity to stop by the University Fieldhouse to talk with senior pole vaulter Samantha Sonnenberg. Sonnenberg is coming off a performance in which she won her first Big Ten title and heads to the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in College Station, Texas, this weekend.

Sonnenberg is the lone Gopher headed to the NCAA Championships. She will compete on Saturday at 4 p.m.  She cleared a career-best 14 feet, 1 1/4 inches at the 2010 NCAA Indoor Championships to finish seventh and capture her first career All-America honor. will stream portions of the championships live both days. Remaining coverage will be available on The times for coverage are from 3-7:40 p.m. on Friday and from 3-6:50 p.m. on Saturday. Additionally, ESPN2 will air a recap show on Wednesday, March 16 at 1:30 p.m. CT.