Harkey soars to All-State status

Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Democrat Photo by Lee Stubblefield Hard charging Kaylynn Harkey attacks down the pole vault runway at the Class 2 State Track and Field Championships at Jefferson City on Friday May 17. The Purdy junior placed third in the event.

Kaylynn Harkey knows what adversity is all about. Competing for Purdy, a small, rural high school with no track and field facilities, she pursued an All-State medal in what is possibly the most challenging of all the events in her sport: the pole vault.

On Friday, May 17, Harkey cleared the bar at 9'9' to claim third place and earn that precious medal at the Class 2 Missouri State High School Activities Association State Track and Field Championships at Lincoln University in Jefferson City.

Harkey was well aware of the magnitude of her accomplishment.

"To succeed in something, you've got to have the passion for the sport and a lot of hard work and drive," said Harkey. "I want to thank my coaches for pushing me and believing in me, and my parents, Sam and Amy Harkey, and my friends for supporting me."

Few people outside of Purdy can comprehend all of the hours of work, and the sacrifices in time, money and her personal life that Kaylynn invests in her passion for vaulting.

Her parents built a pole vault venue on their property that includes a runway, landing pit, standards and crossbar for Kaylynn to train on, and purchased the specialized poles as well.

"She vaults every day after school," reported Amy Harkey. "She will start vaulting in AAU and USATF meets this summer for the first time."

Besides her school coach, Stephanie Ray, Kaylynn benefits from having Jordan Merritt as her personal vaulting coach.

Harkey began her vaulting career as a freshman. After watching her steal bases during a softball game, Coach Ray reportedly said, "She has no fear; she'd be an excellent pole vaulter."

A school record and an All-State medal later, Kaylynn Harkey has validated that prediction.

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