Just over two years ago, Francis Howell’s Lauren Beauchamp was happily competing and succeeding as a gymnast.
Fast forward and Beauchamp is now dominating on the track as a pole vaulter for the Francis Howell girls track team.
Beauchamp, a senior vaulter, who transferred from O’Fallon Christian two years ago made to the state meet as a junior and is currently one of the top pole vaulters in the state.
In just her second year of competition, Beauchamp has not only excelled in the vault, she has become the vaulter to beat, winning first place in six of the Vikings meets so far.
“She’s very blessed, it’s all through her hard work and it’s starting to pay off ,” Francis Howell girls track coach Mark Malawey said.”She does camps and works her tail off and everything that’s coming her way (now) she deserves because of her hard work.”
Pole vaulting was not on the mind of Beauchamp before last spring but out of curiosity, the one-time gymnast thought that doing the vault might be a fun endeavor.
“I had been in gymnastics forever and a couple of my friends were into pole vaulting and I saw them at a meet doing it and they said you should try it, it’s super fun,” Beauchamp said. “So right before my junior year, I went to a camp and learned how and really liked it.”
Beauchamp has been having a lot of fun with the pole vault this spring. So far through six meets, she has not only broken the school record for vault height (10-6), vaulting a 10-7 at the Northwest Invitational on April 8, she is currently tied for the number one rank among Class 5 pole vaulters in the state.
The improvement for Beauchamp from last year to this year has been virtually night and day in terms of performance. In her first year, it was more a case of learning the basics of vaulting.
This season working on speed and technique has allowed her to consistently soar to heights from 10-6 in winning the Festus Early Bird Invitational in March to winning the Timberland Throwers Pole Vault Invitational last Thursday with an amazing first place vault of 11-6.
“You have to have some natural ability and working hard on speed is important and getting a good plant helps,” Beauchamp said. “Really, it’s just learning the sport and I can actually tell what I’m doing wrong as opposed to last year when I didn’t know what I was doing wrong half the time. It’s just really learning how to pole vault.”
It isn’t just the pole vault where Beauchamp shines these days. She is also a star in the classroom this year as an Academic All-American.
“She’s one of those kids that’s just good at everything she does,” Malawey said.
Beauchamp also credits her father John, along with Coach Malawey for giving a her a strong support system that has allowed her to thrive both last season and again this season.
As Beauchamp approaches the Gateway Athletic Conference championships next Wednesday and then districts and state competitions, she has two simple goals that she hopes will lead her back down to Jefferson City for the Class 5 meet in three weeks.
Have fun and clear the height of 12 feet in the pole vault.
“The first goal is to have fun which we’ve been doing and the team has been awesome,” Beauchamp said. “My big goal is I want to jump 12 feet. That’s my big goal, but really just to take one meet at a time and have fun.”
That approach should allow Beauchamp to end her senior season on a major high note.