Over 20-years ago Mankato East's rich tradition of pole vaulting began.
Last week, the Cougar track and field program received the Thomas R. Brown Athletics Grant.

A gift from California Casualty will allow more student athletes from Mankato East and Prairie Winds middle school to participate in pole vaulting.
The program plans to purchase about three or four new poles while phasing out some of the older equipment with more wear and tear.

"To be a good vaulting school, you usually have lots of poles to choose from, so the athletes can move up in increments,and the increments aren't so giant so they can progress to bigger, longer poles a little bit easier, more faster, and then they end up having better height at the end," said Fred Berg, East pole vaults coach. 

Fred Berg began coaching pole vaulters at East back in 1994 with a number of state champions and runner-ups  in his 20 plus years of experience.
Now, there's no shortage of excitement for the sport.

"We have lots of people with an interest for pole vaults, we have a 7th through 12 program going on here, Prairie Winds middle school is involved in this, and the high school, and I can have on days up to 30-40 kids wanting to pole vault and stuff like that. You see we have two pits, we can split it down, and it's really a fun program," said Berg.
"We've got a lot of pole vaulters, he gets a lot of guys involved, so he wants to make sure we have a pole for everybody depending on size and speeds, so he wants to make sure that he has all those poles set up," said Jon Dierks, Mankato East boys track and field coach. 
Giving these vaulters more tools to succeed.

--KEYC News 12