Rising Madison Central freshman Wyatt Stewart continues to dominate the competition in track and field.
The pole vaulter recently picked up his third title in three months at the USATF National Junior Olympics Track and Field Championships last week in California.
Stewart, who was the No. 1 seed going into the competition, won the pole vault competition in the 13-14 year old division.
The Richmond native cleared a height of 4.40 meters — besting Maddox Hamm of Alabama who took second place with a height of 4.25 meters.
Central coach Monte Orchard said it was the first time the competitors had faced each other.
“At the end of the regular track season, Hamm was ranked No. 1 in the nation and beat Wyatt by three inches. A month later, Wyatt got a better height. This was the first time the two had gone head-to-head,” Orchard explained.
Stewart has been steadily rising in the ranks among pole vaulters.
In June, he took the title in the boys 13-14 year-old pole vault competition at the USATF Youth Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Durham, N.C.
Stewart cleared a height of 4.52 meters.
That mark not only helped Stewart claim a championship, it also set a probable new national record for his age group. The previous high mark was 4.42 meters (14-06.00) by Adam Coulon in Painfield, Ill., on July 9, 2011.
In May, Stewart won the Class 3A, Region 7 title in the pole vault with a height of 13-06.00.
The Central standout finished third at the Class 3A State Meet on June 1.
Stewart started vaulting in the middle of his sixth grade year and quickly rose to the top of the rankings.
Orchard said much of the young athletes’ success is due to his hard work and dedication to his sport.
“I would describe him as relentless. He’s absolutely relentless. It’s something you can’t teach. Wyatt is incredibly focused and dedicated. Obsessive would the impolite word to use, but he is always striving to do better,” Orchard explained.
As Stewart prepares for his first year in high school, Orchard said the athlete has plenty of opportunity to grow in the sport.
“You never know. It’s completely open. He’s doing extremely well. It helps that right now vaulting in on the upswing in Kentucky. A lot of rising sophomores and juniors are doing quite well. He has some good local marks to compare himself and strive for,” the coach explained.