Girls' pole vaulter aims to break her own record in try for third state title

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by TED MADDEN

WFAA Sports

Posted on April 17, 2014 at 11:34 PM

COPPELL -- No high school girl in the country has cleared 14-feet in the pole vault this year.

Except Desiree Freier. And she can't even remember how many times she's done it.

"About four or five times," she said.

Make that five or six times after her performance at the the area track and field meet Thursday at Coppell High School. Freier vaulted higher than she ever has, clearing 14-and-a-half feet, which will be a new national record if it's accepted.

"It's great, but [I] don't believe it," Freier said. "I still don't believe it myself. I'm just like, 'Did I do that?'"

It might not be accepted as a record because the indoor season is over, and this competition was held indoors because of wet weather. Meet officials weren't sure whether the record would count, but they'll still submit it.

Even if 14 feet, 6 inches is not a new record, it doesn't matter that much, because Freier already holds the national records -- both of them, the indoor and outdoor. And 14-and-a-half foot mark won't be a record much longer if Freier meets her goal to clear 14 feet, 9 inches at the state meet, where she will likely win her third gold medal in a row.

All these unprecedented heights are being cleared by someone who says she's only five feet tall.

Devin Rodriguez is her coach and also her step-brother. He said being tall used to be seen as an advantage in this sport, but not anymore.

"She's short, but she's really powerful off the ground," said Rodriguez, a former college pole vaulter. "And then when she taps like a gymnast on the high bar, that's where it really connects -- air awareness with her."

The five-foot powerhouse will go to college at a track and field powerhouse (Arkansas) next year, where she will continue to set the bar higher.

"From freshman to sophomore year, I jumped nine inches," Freier said as she talked about how much she's improved over the last few years. "Sophomore to junior, nine inches. And I've already got my nine inches for this year, so now I'm just going higher."

E-mail tmadden@wfaa.com

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