Muenster senior Warren Williams has been pole vaulting since the eighth grade and he recently secured his pole vaulting future as he signed his national letter of intent to play at East Texas Baptist University.
Williams said seeing some success early helped give him hope of pole vaulting in college.
“I wanted to continue my pole vault and I thought I was good at it and thought it could take me to college,” Williams said. “If you jump above double digits, you’re doing pretty good. I jumped 10 feet, 6 inches. It’s something not everyone is doing. It’s fun to get up in the air. It’s hard to explain.”
Williams’s best jump is 14 feet, 2 inches and earlier in the year, he was at an indoor meet with coaches from East Texas Baptist. Williams got a chance to visit the campus, which he said was beautiful.
Pole vaulting can be a dangerous sport, but Williams has never been concerned with being hurt.
“Everyone has to take risks,” Williams said. “Football is a dangerous sport, but I have fun doing it. The thought of going out there and beating your own record and it does help to have people that push you. There is a great community of pole vaulters.”
Williams participates in a pole vaulting club called the Vaultcats and travels to Aledo once a week to work with coach John Rhodes. Williams said most good pole vaulters participate in clubs and there are several benefits.
“We had a local coach in Muenster that taught me and in my sophomore year I found a club coach in Aledo,” Williams said. “I would drive two hours each way once a week to go pole vault down there. Poles are very, very expensive but if you have a club, they’ll furnish a lot of the poles. The club will help connect you with people and having a club coach helped open the door to those opportunities.”
Williams said the pole vault community is small, but the sport’s uniqueness is one of the facets that draws him to it.
“A lot of people tell you to just run at it and plant the pole, but as you get more and more detailed, you have to run with speed and put pressure to the pole,” Williams said. “It’s crazy to think that when you plant that pole that you’re 13 feet away. It’s not something you really think about as a pole vaulter but you just do it.”
Williams considered South Plains College and McMurry University, but ultimately landed on East Texas Baptist.
“South Plains is a two-year college and they never contacted me back,” Williams said. “East Texas has a better pole vaulting club. They’re right next to Stephen F. Austin and they own a pole vaulting brand, so they can get poles from them easy. Poles are everything. East Texas has good facilities and a good track program for it.”
He will pursue a business management degree. Williams said he has always worked with his hands and hopes to continue to do so by owning his own business.
“I’ve been in several different jobs in high school and I’d like to start my own business one day in the community,” Williams said. “I don’t know if I could work for anybody else. I can make my own hours and work when I want to work and do what I love.”
Williams said it means a lot to him to be able to continue his pole vaulting career.
“It’s great to know what I was doing in high school and pole vaulting every week to get to do it in college,” Williams said. “I didn’t really know I was going to college. I thought I was going to work a trade job but pole vaulting has taken me off to college. I’m going to try my hardest as I have in school and I’m dyslexic so it’s hard to read. I had to push hard in high school and I’ll have to push hard in college, but I’ll make it through somehow.”
Williams said he is looking forward to not having to carry his near 15-foot poles everywhere and that he is knows there are many techniques to be learned.
“There is a thing called underwater pole vaulting I’m looking forward to and running is the main thing in pole vaulting,” Williams said. “You have to be able to carry a pole and be fast. I like running, but it’s not my favorite thing to do. I’m always having to put the work in. I bet I’ll have to run more and it’s going to come quick too.”