It shouldn’t be surprising that the best pole vaulter in Prince William County is named Logan Skidmore. The Woodbridge senior is a bit of a daredevil and he has the scars to prove it.
While attempting to vault, he’s fallen on grass, the runway and even off a street curb although he admits that particular time was just sheer stupidity on his part.
“You got to practice your steps on the runway to make sure your measurements are right and when it’s nasty outside, we go in the bus tunnel and we do it in there,” Skidmore said. “We lay out the measuring tape and we have a wooden mock box that we can plant into it, and it just slides when you plant. I was just doing a drill…I just bent it [the pole] too much and it picked me up off the ground about five feet, leveled me out and slammed me down on my back.”
Fortunately, Skidmore has never suffered a serious injury in three plus years of vaulting just marks on his back that show where he’s landed on occasion.
“I got all this stuff on my lower back, pock mark-type things,” Skidmore said of his vaulting mishaps.
Growing up in Nuremberg, Germany as a military brat, Skidmore cultivated his no-fear attitude at a very young age. He’s skied in competitions and has burned up slopes all over Western Europe and the East Coast.
“I have always been into athletic stuff, I’ve skied since I was two years old,” Skidmore said. “That’s the one thing that I am the best at and enjoy the most. …You can push yourself harder in everything you do, the same with pole vaulting. It’s just a reality, you’re gonna hurt yourself. It’s a difficult and not a very safe sport.”
Skidmore first had some success his sophomore year, winning the eight-team Cardinal District indoor meet at Gar-Field with a leap of 9 feet, 6 inches. Ironically, that same year was also the most frustrating one for him. After picking up the sport quickly as a freshman, Skidmore felt like he wasn’t performing like he should have been as a sophomore.
“My sophomore year, I guess I was kind of in a slump,” Skidmore said. “I picked it up pretty quickly my freshman year. I was jumping nine feet and I had a few bright points, like 10 feet, I guess. But I wasn’t getting any higher [sophomore year]. It was like I reached a plateau and I couldn’t get over it.”
His junior season, Skidmore climbed up to 11-0 to win the indoor district title. However, it was a track camp at Centreville High School last summer that really got him over the hump. What was initially supposed to be just a one-week learning session became three weeks, and Skidmore walked out a much-improved vaulter.
By the end of the camp, he was vaulting 14 feet. This winter, he has consistently vaulted 12-6 despite the fact that poor weather has given him grossly inefficient practice time.
“He [the camp director] was doing the drills and stuff with us,” Skidmore said. “We could not only hear it but see it…That was a really good experience for me. I was jumping with guys who really knew what they were doing. The [2002 outdoor] state champion is from Centreville, so I got to watch him jump a little bit.”
In February, Skidmore won the Cardinal District meet with a 12-6 and went 12-0 to finish second in the region meet behind Kevin Lyles of E.C. Glass. Skidmore is hoping to win at least a region championship this spring and his vault coach, Jim Rodgers, has no doubt that the workaholic Skidmore is capable of doing just that.
“Outdoor were gonna shoot for 14 feet because I think he should be jumping 13 feet consistently,” said Rodgers, who joked that he has to run Skidmore off the track because of his desire to go even higher.
Vaulting 14 feet would have put Skidmore in third place at this year’s indoor state meet. And that’s not too shabby for a former cross country runner who initially thought the event was a bit too strange for his tastes.
“It didn’t make any sense at first,” Skidmore said. “How am I, with a 14-foot-long pole, gonna run down the runaway and do all this? It just didn’t make any sense. …But you can break it down into the different steps and once you kind of take care of them all, you can put them together.”