How Sweet is that? Freshman pole vaulter 7th in state

Published 12:54 pm Tuesday, May 23, 2023

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By Brian Pitts

Enterprise Record

In the last two events of the season, Davie’s AJ Sweet left no doubt that he’s the finest freshman pole vaulter in the state.

Sweet was the only freshman who qualified for the pole vault in the Midwest Regional at Davie on May 13. Then in the state meet, the only pole vaulters who topped Sweet were three seniors, two sophomores and a junior.

In the regional, Sweet tied his own school record by clearing 13-6. The top four finishers in each event earned state berths, and Sweet’s effort was good for fourth. The top three spots went to two seniors and a junior.

“AJ is our first pole vaulter to qualify for the state meet in about 25 years,” coach Rob Raisbeck said. “The last person to do it, as far as we can determine, was the son of our pole vault coach, Ted Kiser (Truman Kiser). Coach Kiser has waited 25 years to have another athlete go to states in the pole vault. That’s pretty cool.”

Rebuilding Davie had 17 regional qualifiers. Its participants were two seniors, two juniors and 13 freshmen/sophomores.

“We’ve got a lot of young talent that had a good experience being able to compete at that level,” Raisbeck said. “As you might expect when you have a team that young, we took our lumps in terms of competing in the events.”

Sophomore Tyler Hill, sophomore Aric Boles, freshman Ethan Lakey and senior Owen Sulecki finished eighth in the 3200 relay. Senior Gracie Wilson was eighth in the discus. Sophomore Cooper Williams was ninth in the discus.

Also participating for Davie were Hill (800), Sulecki (1600), America Stockton (5-2 in the high jump), Andrea Keller (5-0 high jump) and junior Sophie Brady (discus). Stockton and Keller have qualified for the Adidas Nationals and New Balance Freshman Nationals in the high jump. Lakey has qualified for the Adidas Nationals in the freshman mile.


One week later at North Carolina A&T University in Greensboro, Sweet illustrated his freshman dominance again, going 13-0 to take seventh out of 16 in the state. The winning mark in the pole vault was 14-6. By cracking the top eight, Sweet earned all-state honors.

This is only the beginning for Sweet, who has qualified for the Adidas Nationals and New Balance Freshman Nationals in June.

“He’s just going to keep getting better,” Raisbeck said.