Air Force's Pater sets record, turns attention to Tokyo

Posted at 11:07 PM, Jan 22, 2020

2017 Air Force graduate Kyle Pater is raising the bar on his pole vaulting career.

"You can tell because if you see the crossbar in your top half you made it by a decent amount," Pater said. "If you can't see it or just barely at all you're just scrapping over it. That was probably the best part."

This past weekend, the school's indoor record holder put the sport on notice, clearing a world-best 19'1 at Air Force's indoor facility.

"Just watching him be able to do what we thought he was able to do for a long time, it's pretty cool actually," Falcons Vertical Jumps Coach Scott Steffan said.

"I definitely remember the top part and realizing I got this easily," Pater said,

His career-best jump makes him a serious contender for the 2020 Tokyo Games.

"I think after Saturday he has a lot of confidence, his jumping 19'1 is a big jump," Steffan said. "He knows he can jump with the big dogs and he is one of the big dogs right now."

A member of Air Force's World Class Elite Program, Pater has been training the past two years for one weekend: The US Olympic Trials at Heyward Field in June.

"The goal of the program is for athletes to make the Olympics," Pater said. "Everything you've done the past 10 years is for that one meet and how are you supposed to keep a level head? We're all trying to figure that out."

Pater says this is probably his last chance to lace it up for Team USA. He's making sure to grip his dreams tightly and jump like he's cleared for one final take off.

"I'm just treating every day, every jump like the same jump. I go for the highest jump I can possibly do."