Before this season, Fort Zumwalt West trackster Jacob Anderson was known much more for his ability to achieve ever higher heights in the pole vault.
This season, Anderson has shown that ability again – week in and week out – but he also has added sprinting and jumping events to his meet routine. Thanks to working in the long jump, triple jump and 100-meter dash, the senior multi-event athlete has become the Jaguars’ most potent force on the track.
Anderson’s all-around performance has been a pleasant surprise and a big plus for the Jaguars.
“I definitely expected that he would be the top [pole] vaulter on the team and that he would have a chance to move on in the state series and a shot at the school record,” Zumwalt West coach John Cunningham said. “But adding the long jump and triple jump to his repertoire and having the success he’s having, I didn’t see that coming. It’s been a great surprise to see the other events he has added.”
Anderson showed his versatility off on a big stage last Saturday as the GAC South Championship meet, where he turned in what would be his best overall performance of the season.
In the GAC meet, Anderson started the day off by setting a personal record in the 100-meter dash with a time of 11.7. In the long jump, he took first place, hitting a PR with a leap of 19-3 1/2. A personal record leap of 38-7 followed in the triple jump, which was good for third place. Anderson finished the day with a 13-8 leap, good for second place in the pole vault.
Anderson’s strong showing in the four events accounted for 26 points as he helped the Jaguars finish second to Timberland in the conference meet.
“I felt like I scored a lot for the team and had a big impact on the team,” Anderson said. “It felt good because I felt like I was making progress and whenever I make progress, I know I’m doing something right.”
After competing mostly in the pole vault the first three years and dabbling a bit in the long and triple jump last year, Anderson felt that he should add the jumps and the 100-meter dash to his program along with the pole vault.
“I had been doing the long and triple jump a little bit last year and I did plan on improving as the year started but as I got better, I went with the flow,” Anderson said.
Anderson has done plenty right when it comes to doing well in the pole vault. The vault is still the main event that has become his calling card.
Earlier this season he broke the Zumwalt West school record of 13-0 feet in the vault and on April 28, he hit a personal record of 14-0 feet in the vault at the Marion Freeman Invitational Meet in Clayton.
In his past three meets, Anderson has hit 13-0 or higher in the vault and has been a steady top three performer in the event.
Anderson credits his work ethic with allowing him to be dominant in the vault each meet this spring.
“… during the offseason, we’re lifting five days a week and during the season six days a week,” Anderson said. “So, it’s just pretty much training hard year-round.”
“He just worked really hard in the offseason,” Cunningham said. “He put in a lot of time in the weight room, gained some muscle and had a goal at the beginning of the season year. He really worked toward that goal and you’re seeing the hard work he did in the offseason pay off right now.”
College will be Anderson’s next stop after he finishes his senior season with Zumwalt West. He is headed to Missouri S & T to major in aerospace and mechanical engineering and will compete there athletically in the decathlon and heptathlon.
Before that happens, Anderson has a little unfinished business. He wants to keep his pole vault season going this weekend with a top-four finish in the Class 5, District 4 meet at Battle High in Columbia. A top-four finish there and in next weekend’s sectional meet will send him to the Class 5 championship meet on May 25-26 in Jefferson City.
“The biggest thing is going to be districts since we have the hardest district in the whole state,” Anderson said. “Districts will be a battle and I’m capable of [making] it; it’s just a matter of performing.”