Thomas Corpuz | Junior | Creighton Prep High School
One might think that as the only varsity pole vaulter at Creigton Prep, junior Thomas Corpuz wouldn’t have much to worry about. But in his eyes, he has big shoes to fill. Not only was his older brother, Michael, a pole vaulter at Prep, but so was Christian Mapes, who holds the school’s record at 15’ from 2011. Even one of his coaches who lost his leg in a motorcycle accident still vaults using an athletic prosthetic leg. All of these influences help Thomas to keep setting—and reaching—all of his goals.
Thomas first tried pole vaulting as a freshman when his brother suggested he try it. Then as a sophomore he vaulted exclusively after his ankle suffered from long jumping. Now he’s hooked on the sport. “It’s so much fun being that high in the air,” he said. “Not many other track events can you give you that rush.”
His personal record that first year was 10 ft., followed by 12 ft. his sophomore year. To quality for state, you have to vault at least 13 ft., which Thomas has no doubt he’ll do. “Since there’s no other pole vaulters, I feel like it’s something I need to achieve.”
Form is everything in vaulting, starting with the foot plant. Length and weight of the pole is also important. “I want to perfect my form and keep getting better,” he said. “It’s all about how much experience you have, and I don’t have as much as others do. Yet.”
While pole vaulting takes up much of his time during the spring season, Thomas also starts as a wide receiver for Prep’s varsity football team during the fall season. He also loves to play a guitar and saxophone as well as sing—forming a school band that played at Prep’s most recent prom.
He also serves as a mentor for the Ollie Webb Just Friends program for people with disabilities. After graduating from high school, Thomas hopes to attend the Air Force Academy and study aeronautical science, pilot F-16s, and one day soar to even greater heights by becoming an astronaut.