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THE CITY REBORN FROM THE ASHES OF AMERICA'S MOST DISASTROUS FOREST FIRE
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"Fun" Keeps Wiedemeier Vaulting, Winning

Jake Wiedemeier might be the most anxious young man in Marinette County right now.

The senior from Crivitz, two-time defending state pole vault champion, is waiting as patiently as he can for the start of the 2013 outdoor track season. And it's not just the opportunity to pocket a third state title that has him wishing Mother Nature would get on with it already, Wiedemeier can't wait to return to competing in earnest because he has a ton of fun pole vaulting.

"It's an adrenaline rush," says Wiedemeier. "Once you start getting good at it, it becomes an addiction. From there, it's just fun. You want to get better at it and you start putting more and more time into it. It's a blast, I really love it."

Wiedemeier's road to two-time title holder started around the fourth grade as he struggled to learn how to time his approach and how to properly get onto the mat. By seventh grade, Jake was well versed in the fundamentals of the inherently dangerous event and began to tackle the bar and develop his technique.

This year, Wiedemeier has a lot to look forward to as all indicators are pointing to another big season on the track. In 2012, Jake took top honors at state with a cleared height of 14'3, slightly less than the 14'6 mark he set to move on from sectional competition.

Already in 2013, with events being canceled due to weather and snow still covering much of the terrain in northeast Wisconsin, Wiedemeier has already posted an even 14-foot vault at last week's indoor meet hosted by Oconto Falls. It was a promising start to a final high school campaign for Wiedemeier, who knows how tough it is to stay consistent in an event that offers little to zero room for error each time the athlete heads down the runway towards the bar.

"Yup. You could have a wonderful season and then three bad attempts or bad run ups and you're done once tournament time starts," says Wiedemeier of the precision required to excel in his chosen event. "It's very stressful, when it comes to competition. You can take yourself out mentally."

Now a veteran vaulter, Wiedemeier has tamed the mental side of the event. And the reason for that lies in how he approaches pole vaulting as something he simply enjoys doing. Having fun on the track is what comes first for Wiedemeier.

When he gets to talking about vaulting, the conversion isn't dominated on his end by talk of winning that third state championship or beating the Crivitz High record of 14'9, a mark set by his coach Scott Banaszak and that stood as a state record at one point. Rather, Jake seems to pull focus on the fact that he is having fun doing what he's doing. The enjoyment of it trumps the accolades that have come along with it.

"I always get nervous, like anyone else really," said Wiedemeier. "But once I step out on the runway and start getting ready for it, I shut everything else out and tell myself to have fun. Just vault. It doesn't really matter what height you end up getting. Knowing that I'm there to have fun keeps me focused."

And third state title or not, Wiedemeier is more than content with the fact that his career as a vaulter will continue after his time as a Wolverine has passed. He will be heading to Houghton following graduation where he will be attending Michigan Tech and vaulting for the Huskies while studying to become a mechanical engineer.

"I'm just excited that I'm not going to be completely done vaulting after this year. This isn't my last year of competition," Wiedemeier added.


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