NORMAN — When Kevin Whitt called Tim McMichael to inquire about borrowing a 15-foot vaulting pole last year, McMichael was happy to help.
He had a barn full of long poles. McMichael, who still holds the OU pole vaulting record, didn't think Norman North's Jack Whitt, then a sophomore, would get much use out of the poles, though.
"No high school kid jumps on poles that long,” McMichael told Jack Whitt's father, Kevin.
McMichael let the Whitts borrow the poles. A week later, Kevin called back, asking for some that were even longer.
"That's when I decided I better get out and watch this kid,” McMichael said.
Jack Whitt surprised people by winning last year's Class 6A pole vault title with a vault of 15 feet.
That was before he started working with McMichael.
Since, Jack has improved by a foot and a half.
"That's just kind of how it worked out,” Jack Whitt said.
It's been working out plenty well.
The only event he's competed in this year he hasn't won was the National Pole Vault Summit, where he finished fifth.
And McMichael doesn't hold back when talking about Jack's potential.
"He's gone from being barely competitive in this state to being potentially one of the best jumpers in the history of the sport,” McMichael said. "He's made the fastest improvement I've ever seen. It's just amazing.”
Kevin Whitt encouraged his son to take up the pole vault when Jack was a seventh-grader.
"The pole vault had always intrigued me,” Kevin said.