By Josh Brown
TROY —Troy’s Nathan Fleischer doesn’t necessarily want a state championship handed to him.
But he still wants one.
Fleischer, who placed third in the pole vault at the Division I state track and field meet last spring, is looking to make sure this is a memorable senior season — and he’s already hard at work making it one. Already the school record holder in the pole vault for outdoor season, Fleischer has broken the Troy High School indoor record three consecutive meets, capping off the strong run by clearing 15-0 at the University of Findlay on Feb. 1.
“I think it’s going really well,” Fleischer said of indoor track and field season. “I’m progressing a lot faster than I thought I would. I’m hoping to clear 16-0 by indoor state.”
Fleischer’s vault of 15-0 at last season’s state meet at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium broke the school outdoor meet that he already owned and gave him third place overall. And of the top six placers, Fleischer was the only one that wasn’t a senior.
But Fleischer says it won’t be a gimme when the time comes.
“I’ve had a lot of people say ‘we’re expecting you to win state this year,’” Fleischer said. “But it’s still a hard goal. There’s a lot of other guys out there that are good vaulters.”
“There’s already two other guys this indoor season that are over 15-0,” former Troy track and field coach and current pole vaulting consultant Herb Hartman said. “The challenge continues.”
And so far this indoor season, Fleischer has met the challenge.
Three weeks ago at a meet at Miami East, Fleischer claimed the school indoor record with a vault of 14-4, and then the next week at Tippecanoe he improved on that by vaulting 14-6.
“The first two meets were on shorter runways,” Hartman said. “At Miami East they have a 70-foot runway, and he could only get five left (steps) on it. To jump 14-4 on just five lefts, that’s remarkable in and of itself. The next week he had a little longer runway, but not by much, so he stuck to the five lefts and got 14-6.”
Once he got an open runway at Findlay, though, he showed what he could really do, matching his outdoor record by clearing 15-0.
“At Findlay, they have a 140-foot runway,” Hartman said. “So he got his steps worked out for a full run and had a 15-footer.”
“I think those shorter runs helped,” Fleischer said. “They helped me work on my form more and get more speed out of shorter steps.”
In fact, indoor season is all about the technique, Fleischer said, as the elements aren’t a factor.
“Indoor is very constant,” he said. “You can’t change that much about it from meet to meet. You don’t have the weather or the wind or a lot of other factors that can change your vault that you do during outdoor season. I kind of like indoor season more because of that.”
But he also likes knowing that, even though the competitors that he faced at outdoor state last year are all graduated, there’s still someone out there that will keep pushing him each week.
“I love having good competition,” Fleischer said. “I want to win state, sure. But it’s a lot better to win it when facing off against good competition. It means more.”
Fleischer will compete this weekend at Cedarville University and has already qualified for the state indoor meet in March in Akron, leading right into outdoor season.
Contact Josh Brown at (937) 440-5251 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow @TroyDailySports on Twitter.