Bendigo Pole vault champion James Woods cleared the 4.95 metre mark to break the Athletics Bendigo Region’s open record at Tuesday night’s Zatopek 10 meet in Box Hill.
Woods, 17, began the meet as holder of Bendigo’s centre and residential records on 4.80m.
Plenty of hours training at the track and in the gym by South Bendigo Athletics Club’s gun athlete resulted in soaring 15 centimetres higher than he had done before.
“It was an unbelievable feeling,” Woods said of surpassing the 4.95m goal in the Steve Hooker pole vault competition.
“Conditions were ideal for pole vault, especially with a slight tailwind.”
He cleared 4.40m, 4.60m and 4.75m at his first attempt.
After a first-up fail at 4.85m he cleared on the second.
The bar was then at 4.95m and Woods cleared at first go.
“I was really excited after that vault.”
A goal leading into the 2020-21 season was to pass the 5m mark by his 18th birthday which will be on February 1.
Woods had three attempts at 5.05m at Box Hill.
In the teams competition, Woods and Georgia Tayler, 3.85m, were victorious.
“We both had 15 centimetre PBs, so that was great for both of us,” said Woods.
The teenager has racked up plenty of wins and personal bests in his time as a vaulter, but also had to overcome the disappointment of “no height” at some meets.
“When that happens, Peter (coach Peter Barrett) and I take a step back and talk about what went wrong, and what I could do better,” said Woods.
Among those watching on at the Zatopek 10 were Steve Hooker and James’ mum, Andrea.
“The support from mum and dad (Glenn), the family, friends, Peter Barrett, clubmates and Athletics Bendigo means a lot.
“The team at Fit Republic have been a huge help in building my strength.
“The five metre mark is not so far away. I have to keep working as hard as I can.”
Woods may compete in the state multi-events on February 6 and 7 on turf he knows so well in Bendigo.
The Zatopek 10 included the 10,000m run in which Bendigo University star Andy Buchanan clocked 28:35.11 to be fifth.