Accomplishments: Sam Wright has already set the bar high for himself this track and field season.
The Lodi High senior, who competes in the pole vault, leaped to success at the Grape Games at Tokay High’s revamped on-campus stadium — Hubbard Field — on March 2. That’s when he cleared the bar at 16 feet, 4 inches in his second attempt. He cleared 16-1 in his first attempt. He competed against nine other pole vaulters from the 18 high schools that competed at the games.
Not only did Wright, who will be attending Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. this fall, win the event, but also broke the school record on his first attempt. The previous record was an even 16 feet set by Michael Gonzalez in 2015.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” Wright said. “It was a pretty rainy day. I just wanted to get on the runway and see what I was able to do. It was a huge accomplishment.”
The qualifying mark for the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters, which will be held in mid-May, this season is 14’9.
“I think I will be able to qualify,” said Wright, referring the California Interscholastic Federation Track and Field Championships that will be held the week after the Masters.
On his way to clearing the bar at 16’4, Wright thought that the bar would drop to the ground after part of his body touched it.
“It barely stayed on,” Wright said.
Wright used a 15 foot pole in both of his jumps. The highest for poles is 17 feet, 5 inches.
“That’s a new pole for me,” Wright said. “I think I’m capable of bigger poles. But considering the conditions that day, let’s not go super big on the pole.”
The Grape Games was the start of the season for Lodi and its cross-town rival in Tokay. Wright is looking forward to seeing how he progresses in upcoming weekend invitational and Tri-City Athletic League dual meets in upcoming weeks.
“That just means I have so much potential, for what’s to come,” Wright said.
Certainly no pressure on Wright, who missed all of last season due to a hip injury. Last summer, he had an arthroscopy surgery to remove a cyst from the left side of his hip.
“Just to be out here and competing, I’m super grateful,” Wright said. “It was pretty mild. But it took some time to get back into it.”
Bicycling and swimming were part of Wright’s therapy after the surgery. He could be seen riding his bicycle around Lodi Lake to help his father, Lodi High cross-country coach Greg Wright, run TCAL meets that were held last fall. Greg Wright is also the Flames’ track and field coach.
“I’m glad I’m back to where I was, and more,” said Sam Wright.
Wright has been pole vaulting since sixth grade.
Contact Mike Bush at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.