LIVINGSTON — As just a junior, Carter Bartz already owns the pole vaulting record at Park High School in Livingston, but he continues to take his talents to new heights.
“I think you got to be a little bit crazy to do it,” Bartz said.
Earlier this year, Bartz broke the school record of 13 feet, 1.5 inches by jumping 13-3. The junior didn’t stop there. Last weekend in Laurel he jumped 14-3.
“I’m just falling looking straight up at the bar realizing it’s still on there and just thinking, ‘That's sweet, let’s go,’” Bartz said.
Bartz started pole vaulting when he was a freshman, clearing 8-6 in his first meet.
“It was super fun. As soon as I just started figuring how to bend the pole too, it was like, ‘Man, I just like flinging myself up in the air,'” said Bartz.
His father, Casey, knew Carter was a natural from the time he picked up the sport.
“He went 12 feet his first year, which was amazing. Most kids don’t get to that height,” said Casey. “To do it as a freshman, I think he saw that success and he wanted to continue after, so that’s what kind of drove him.”
Casey is not just Carter’s father, he’s also his coach, and was a pole vaulter for the Rangers as well.
“It turned out to be the funnest sport that I’ve ever done and I played all the sports,” said Casey. “Pole vaulting is a single sport and to go upside down and to go over that bar at such a high height, it’s unbelievable. It’s amazing.”
Carter enjoys the dynamic of having his father as a coach, as it brings them that much closer.
“He pushes me pretty hard, so it makes it even better when you clear those bars and it’s just more excitement I guess having that bond,” said Carter.
Casey enjoys Carter’s work ethic and his ability to be critiqued and coached.
“Think about it like a golf swing, you can change one little thing and if you don’t put it all together, it’s not going to be perfect -- that’s the same with pole vaulting,” he said. “He is very coachable. That is the reason why he succeeds today is because he can listen to those things that he needs to be doing and he’ll implement them.”
These two are bonded by the sport, and it makes all the time they put in together that much more rewarding with each record Carter breaks.
“To see the successes and to be able to celebrate those successes as a father, son and a coach, athlete, it’s amazing," Casey said.
With six total meets left this track and field season, Carter hopes to vault 15 feet this year.