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From D3 to the World Championships: Luke Winder Eyes a Medal


“You don’t know how many World Championships you go to. Hopefully a lot more after this. But the goal is to go in there and go to finals and compete for a medal.”

Being the youngest in a family of great pole vaulters, Luke Winder was destined to be great. After winning a state title like his brothers and father, Winder went on to North Central where was a 7x National Champion and one time runner-up. Seeing his brother compete post-collegiately and losing the 2018 Outdoor National Champions, Winder knew he wasn’t done with pole vault just yet.

Luke had a steady improvement after he graduated, but it wasn’t until this year where he reached knew heights. This all happened after his father retired from coaching. Changing coaches during a Worlds year can be seen as a risky move. For Winder, this change has helped his career tremendously and is a big reason why he’ll be pole vaulting at the World Championships. Why was this change so successful? He continued working with someone he trusted: his brother.

Growing up in the Winder household, pole vault was always present. One rule that Tim Winder made for his sons about pole vaulting was they had to explicitly ask him to be their coach. Tim never wanted to force pole vault onto his sons and Luke attributes his addiction to vaulting to that reason.

We touch on the mental fortitude needed to compete in pole vault and how working with his brother this year has made him mentally stronger to compete. The work paid off quickly after he went from a no height at USAs indoors to qualifying for Worlds outdoors.

Luke will be competing on July 22nd for the qualification round and July 24th is the final.

Luke and his brother Jake took over their father’s Pole Vault facility. You can learn more about it here.

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Notable Quotes

“I think I’m one of the best in the U.S. and if you’re one of the best in the U.S., you could compete to be one of the best in the world. So that’s where my objectives are right now.”

“I’m going in there with the expectation of getting to the final and putting myself in a position to hopefully get a chance to jump at some bars that would get me to medal at the World Championships, which is crazy to think about”

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