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Herriman Journal

With Wightman, Mountain Ridge track and field looking to vault to the top

May 09, 2024 01:07PM ● By Josh McFadden

Adam Wightman’s uncle Greg; his wife, Jacy; Wightman’s mom, Desi, holding his little sister Addie; Wightman in the middle; his dad, Chris, and his sister Gentri. Wightman, a Mountain Ridge junior, is one of the state’s top pole vaulters. (Photo courtesy of Adam Wightman.)

In the Class 6A ranks, track and field is a competitive sport, with several deep, talented teams vying for top honors. While Mountain Ridge will have its work cut out for it at the upcoming state meet, it boasts one of the top pole vaulters in the state: senior Adam Wightman.  

Mountain Ridge finished 14th on the boys’ side in last year’s state meet. Wightman had an outstanding meet last season, placing third overall in the pole vault among all 6A pole vaulters. He is optimistic about the team’s chances this time around at the 6A state meet, May 16–18 at Brigham Young University. He’s also eager to do even better in his event. 

“My goal this year is to pole vault 16 feet and 1 inch to beat the unofficial Utah junior record,” he said. “As a team, I want to win the region championships this year as well as the state championship.”

Wightman, a junior, hasn’t even been involved in track and field too long. He got started in the sport competitively just two years ago as a ninth grader. Interestingly, his participation in another sport got him going in track. 

“What got me started was my pole vaulting,” he said. “I was a football kid, but you can’t be a football kid all year; you need something to do in the offseason. My dad was trying to convince me to join the track team so I could stay in shape. I told him multiple times that I wasn’t going to run just to run; I needed a ball or something to make it fun. He then cleverly asked me if I would run with a pole. I agreed to try it, and he took me to a session at the Utah Pole Vault Academy (UTPVA), and I immediately fell in love with vaulting. Pole vaulting gave me a gateway into track because I wanted to improve my vault and the best way to do that was to get faster. So, after a few sprinting workouts, I fell in love with the track side of things as well.”

Being a good pole vaulter is no simple task. But Wightman said he loves the event and finds it an incredibly satisfying experience. 

“There is nothing more exhilarating than getting launched into the air by a giant fiberglass stick,” he said. “I also love long jumping because it is pretty much the same thing as the vault; you just jump into sand instead of a pole.”

Head coach James Barnes believes Wightman is the state’s best pole vaulter. Many elements make Wightman good at what he does. He said also does some other events here and there, though pole vaulting is definitely where he is most effective. 

“My biggest strength as a track athlete is definitely my vaulting,” Wightman said. “I consistently score points there no matter who it is against. I’m also pretty athletic, so I can get thrown into pretty much any event and still do well. That typically happens with a relay when one of my teammates gets hurt.”

The Mountain Ridge team is like family, Wightman said. The athletes get along and enjoy good unity. The coaches are supportive and encourage everyone to do his or her best. Wightman is also grateful that he has all the tools at his disposal that he needs to be successful. 

“The best things about being on the mountain ridge track team are the extremely nice facilities and equipment,” he said. “The coaches are amazing and push us to get the best from us. We have a stricter environment than most schools where everyone is dedicated to doing their duty. And last but not least, the amazing athletes all support each other.”

Wightman may be an All-State-caliber athlete, but he knows he can always get better. 

“I want to improve everything I do,” he said. “I am super competitive, so I always push myself to be the best I can. Right now, I’m trying to improve my long jump, especially to hopefully have a chance at going to state for that as well as pole vault.”

With still one year to go at Mountain Ridge, Wightman is already looking ahead to the future. He intends on serving a volunteer mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after he graduates. After that two-year service, he hopes to continue his track and field career. 

“I want to vault at a D1 college and study mechanical engineering,” he said. “I have not decided which schools are best for me, but I figure I have a lot of time to figure that out as a junior.”

Wightman is a tireless worker and competitor. His efforts have yielded some fantastic results. But he hasn’t forgotten about the people who have helped him along the way. 

“My biggest mentor has been my dad,” he said. “He got me started, and he’s kept me going. He has taken so much time out of his life to support me in my dreams, from driving me to competitions all over Utah and Idaho, to late-night talks on how I can improve. I definitely would not be where I was today without him. Another mentor is my uncle. He was an amazing pole vaulter back in the day and is kind of the reason my dad wanted me to try vaulting. He has helped me look at the vault in a more long-term way and supported me through the good and bad competitions. Lastly, I thank all my coaches, especially those at UTPVA that have really helped me dial in my pole vaulting form.” λ



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