KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Athletes including American and international champions are to test their strength and stamina in Key West Saturday, Jan. 7, during the annual Pole Vault in Paradise competition.
Scheduled to take place at Higgs Beach on the Atlantic Ocean, located at 1000 Atlantic Blvd., the all-day open-air challenge is sanctioned by USA Track and Field. Spectators can watch entrants ranging in age from teens to seniors vying for prizes and personal best vaults in several categories.
Athletes registered for the 2023 competition include Deia Goff, a silver medalist at the 2022 World Masters Athletics Championships; Tray Oates, a 2016 Olympic Games alternate and four-time U.S. championships qualifier; Jorge Luna Estes, a multiple-time Mexican national champion; and Scott Houston, who won the national title at the 2018 USA Indoor Track and Field Championships and has been ranked among the world’s top 25 vaulters.
Pre-competition activities are to begin Friday, Jan. 6, with a 1-5 p.m. open practice for athletes and a 3-5 p.m. final registration.
Saturday’s action begins with an 8-10 a.m. pancake breakfast. Participating vaulters are to be placed in flights based on their opening heights, with flights scheduled to start at approximately 9 a.m.
Prize money awaits first- through third-place finishers in the open men’s and women’s divisions, as well as all men and women who break the island records. Records currently stand at 18 feet, 4.866 inches for men and 14 feet, 3.259 inches for women.
Registration is still open for the high-energy competition. Cost is $50 per person through Nov. 30 and $75 per person thereafter.
Proceeds from Pole Vault in Paradise benefit the nonprofit Key West Track & Field Club, whose mission includes raising money for Key West–area high school track and field teams and promoting the sport of track and field within the Lower Keys community.
Event information: kwtfc.org/pole-vault-in-paradise/
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
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