ORLAND — As a freshman, Orland High School track and field competitor Logan Meredith put his name in the school’s athletic department history book.
On Friday, the 14-year-old Meredith set a new school record with a jump of 13-foot-1 in the pole vault event at the Black Butte Invitational hosted by Orland High School. The previous record was 13 feet flat, set by Steve Hanks in 1969.
The Black Butte Invitational was Meredith’s first home track meet of his high school career, and one he had circled on his calendar.
Meredith has only participated in _ events so far in 2022, after recovering from a broken leg in football in the fall of 2021 and a knee injury in wrestling in the spring of 2022. The previous record Meredith was 12ft 6in, set at the Roy Crabtree Pirate Classic on March 11 in Wheatland.
With Meredith’s new personal best of 13′ 1″, he is now No. 1 in the North section in the pole vault and ranked fifth nationally among all freshmen. North Section No. 2 Owen Reynolds of West Valley has a PR of 10′ 7″.
For Meredith, overcoming the injuries he suffered before the start of the track and field season was difficult. He said the physical aspect was not the struggle, but rather the mental aspect.
“I would say I have to sit down because I like the sport. Sport is a big part of my life,” Meredith said of the hardest part. “It sucked having to sit down.”
Meredith injured his knee in the Joe Rios and his mind quickly raced to hope that he wouldn’t miss track season too much.
For Meredith, the most difficult part of the pole vault event is the mental aspect.
“I like it because it’s probably the most mentally difficult event on the track. You have to trust a pole and you’re 13 feet in the air,” Meredith said. “The most difficult thing is to have self-confidence. You have to believe that you are going to enter the pits and you just have to go.
The physical aspect is also difficult, as he is only 5ft 3in and competes in an event where many successful jumpers are close to the height of 6ft.
Andrew Meredith, his father and trainer, said he made up for this through his speed, strength, fearlessness and gymnastic ability.
“I know my opponents are neglecting me, so I just trust myself,” Meredith said of being undersized and how it motivates him. “I know what I can do and they just think they know what I can do.”
Meredith got her start in pole vaulting when she was a child. His earliest memory was clearing 9 feet at the Golden West Invitational in sixth grade.
Meredith’s sister, Lauryn Meredith, was a pole vaulter for Corning High School, and her father Andrew Meredith has coached the vault on and off since 2000. Andrew Meredith has coached at his alma mater Galt High School, as well as at Corning and Orland.
“He helped me with all of that. He’s been my coach since day one since I started,” Logan Meredith said of his dad.
At Meredith’s, they’ve had a pole vault installed in their backyard since 2010, when Logan Meredith was 2 years old. Logan said he also attributes this to his success.
“It’s helped me a lot because I can train all year round now so it’s a lot easier to go out in the yard and start jumping than having to come to the track at the end of the day. ‘school,” Logan Meredith added.
Meredith also competes in the 100-meter sprint and runs the third leg of the 4×100-meter relay, both at the varsity level, but the pole vault is her primary event.
“Logan Meredith has been competing in high-level athletics for many years, so he’s no stranger to success, especially in the pole vault,” said Orland track and field coach Lisa Reimers.
Reimers met Meredith four years ago when she first saw him compete in the Glenn County Education Office track and field meet at the OHS and watched him run the short distance. She was immediately impressed.
“Even as a freshman at Orland High School, Logan is a leader among his peers. He has great respect for his teammates and coaches. Although he is ranked No. 1 in the pole vault section at the moment, he is very humble about it and does not take that status for granted. He wants to keep getting faster, stronger and better in all of his events,” added Reimers.
With three and a half years of track and field competition left, Logan Meredith isn’t just breaking a school record at Orland High School. His goal is to be close to 16 or 17 feet in his senior year, but when it comes to his first year, his goal is to win the North Section with the necessary height and said he would be proud of that.
In order to achieve his goal for the senior year, Meredith said he still needs to perfect more things off the lift and fix things at the top of the post, which he thinks he can accomplish.
“Logan took advantage of the start of the season to regain his confidence after his injuries this year. It’s such a physically demanding event. When you combine the inherent danger of sport, lack of confidence can be very dangerous,” said Andrew Meredith. (Logan) is really starting to get in shape and hopes to keep improving his performance.