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"You couldn't get 6 meters out of my head" | Lightfoot achieves dream, sets record

KC Lightfoot became the first collegiate pole vaulter to jump 6 meters. He still has more in his tank

WACO, Texas — On February 13, KC Lightfoot did what no other collegiate indoor pole vaulter has ever done. He jumped the 6-meter bar, which is equivalent to 19.825 feet.

"At every meet, 6 meters was in the back of my head," Baylor junior KC Lightfoot said. "You just couldn't get it out."

Lightfoot, who began pole vaulting in 2013, broke the NCAA indoor record in the pole vault in his very first meet of the season at Texas Tech. Lightfoot cleared 19-5 3/4 to break the previous record of 19-5 1/2 set by South Dakota’s Chris Nilsen in February 2020. 

"I always wanted the collegiate record. Of course, It's way up there. It's not an easy jump," Lightfoot said. "But I knew coming into this season I had taken good jumps in practice and trained hard during the pandemic so I knew something big was probably going to happen." 

Just weeks later Baylor traveled back to Lubbock for another meet. That's where the ultimate dream came true. 

"Not that I didn't care about setting another college record," Lightfoot said. "I just really wanted that magic 6 meters." 

After he missed on his first two tries, the bar stayed up on the third  as Lightfoot yelled out, “Let’s go!” followed by a backflip. 

"The worst thing is everyone tells me how bad it was and I can't disagree, but I promise I am good at backflips," Lightfoot said. "That one just had so much emotion tied to it. I landed on my heels plus there was a fist bump going on."

All three records set by Lightfoot this season were accompanied by his biggest fan, his dad, who drove 10 hours from Missouri to see the jumps in person. 

"He said, 'I don't care I'll watch from outside the door' (due to COVID-19). But they ended up letting all my family and friends inside for this one because it was so cold," Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot began jumping in junior high because his dad had done it in high school and college. Now he has the chance to become one of the best ever.

"Right now I'm third in the world and first in the United States," Lightfoot said. "The next big one is the American Record which is 601 (6m1in), so that's only a tiny bit more than what I just jumped."

He also is just months away from the Olympic trials, then potentially making it to Tokyo. He said his goal is to enjoy the little things like hopefully making the Olympic team, before setting his next goal of winning a gold medal. 

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