While you’re buying some veggies and eating some food at today’s Farmers Market in Downtown Lodi, you may want to look up.
There may be a pole vaulter flying by.
Two high school track coaches from around the Valley will join former Lodi High coach Greg Wright for a USA Track and Field pole vault competition at the intersection of Oak and School streets, starting at 5 p.m. The competition will feature high school pole vaulters as well as a few Olympic hopefuls.
Oak Ridge High pole vault coach Brent Burns will be master of ceremonies, and the runway setup was built by Turlock High track coach Bergann Hernandez.
“You have to build a runway 130 feet long, 4 feet wide and 8 inches high that supports somebody running full speed,” Wright said. “It has cross boards all the way down. It’s complex.”
Wright said if today’s meet is successful, it could be an annual thing — or more. He said he has space reserved for the July 11 farmers market, though that would just be high school athletes, with the USA Track and Field National Championships so close to that date.
Another possibility is that Oak Ridge and Turlock could host events, with it coming to Lodi every three years. But Wright does hope the Lodi farmers market, with its built-in crowd, makes a difference.
“What that means is crowd support,” Wright said. “There’s music, Brent will be the guy on microphone, so it’s more than a track setting, it’s more like a concert setting. That’s why people like to do street vaults, it’s like a rock concert.”
The Open Elite Men’s division will include six athletes, with Samford University graduate Tray Oates (personal best of 18 feet, 6 inches), Princeton grad August Kiles (17-9) and current UCLA athlete Kyle Brown (16-8) leading the way.
The Open Elite Women’s division has just one entry so far (William Jessup athlete Rachel Travis), and will be rolled into the high school girls division.
The high school boys division will have one notable competitor missing — Lodi’s Samuel Wright, who recently won the state track and field pole vault championship at 16-5, will sit out with a tender shoulder.
Notable athletes in the nine-man high school boys field include Oak Ridge’s Tyler Burns (16-3 personal record) and Miramonte High’s Marcus Young (16-1 personal best). The eight-athlete women’s field includes Monte Vista Christian’s Ezeji-Okoye Delaney (13-0.75 record) and Occidental College’s Melissa Braun (13-3).