When Colton Crum was growing up, the sport of pole vaulting wasn’t even on his radar. However, once he got a taste of success as a sixth grader, the sky literally became the limit.
“In sixth grade, I broke the school record here,” said Crum. “I jumped 9 feet, 7 inches. After that, I thought lets just see how far we can go with this. Having that little bit of success was enough to keep me going.”
That little bit a success culminated in a state championship just a few years later as he claimed the prize that had eluded him on three previous occasions when he finished second as a freshman, third as a sophomore and second as a junior.
At the state meet on June 2 at Indiana University in Bloomington, Crum won the state title with a vault of 17-4. With the title in hand, he then broke the state meet record as he cleared 17-6.25 to break the record of 17-6 held by Deakin Volz in 2015.
In addition to his state title, Crum added one more honor as he was named the Robert S. Hinshaw Memorial Award winner, which is the greatest honor the state finals has to offer. It is given to one senior annually at the state finals to someone who excels in attitude, scholarship, leadership and athletic ability. With that comes a $1,000 scholarship to Frankfort High School in his name.
“Winning that award means the most to me,” said Crum. “It is a culmination of my efforts on and off the track.”
Crum, who is headed to Notre Dame, became Frankfort’s first track and field state champion since Bob Laverty captured the long jump back in 1955. Crum also gave the Hot Dogs their first state champion in any sport since 2003 when Chase Thompson won a wrestling title.
What is really interesting is the road Crum took to get to be a state champion.
“I use to be a motocross rider,” he said. “I raced motorcycles since I was five years old. I had been racing for several years and getting injured off and on.”
To help avoiding injuries, his dad, Gary Crum, actually purchased a pole vault pit.
“We were going to shred it up and make a foam pit out of it so I could back flip dirt bikes and motorcycles and BMX bikes into it,” said Crum. “Mark Crum, my uncle, told my dad you would be an idiot to shred up a perfectly good pole vault pit. He told my dad that I would be a great pole vaulter. So, we had a pole vault pit in our backyard and didn’t shred it up. We left it in the grass and starting jumping.”
He borrowed poles through his sister, Baylee Crum, who was jumping for Clinton Central at the time.
“She kind of introduced me to the sport,” said Crum.
Crum said being in the state meet in each of his first three years and coming up short was all the motivation he needed.
“I had plenty of fuel and I don’t think anybody was as motivated to win as me,” said Crum. “I was going to do this, number one for my city, and number two, for myself because I wanted to give Frankfort, Indiana something that 63 years had not produced. I was really proud to do that.”
Crum stressed the title was for everyone.
“I’m so thankful for everyone who helped me here in Frankfort whether it was the mayor or someone giving me some advise, especially my mom and dad who have helped me with everything,” said Crum. “This is a team effort and I’m happy I could bring a state title back to Frankfort. To bring home a state championship for Frankfort, Indiana means everything for me.”
Next up for Crum is his collegiate career at Notre Dame. He said he selected the Irish over such schools as Stanford, Yale, Army and Purdue.
“I had to stick with what got me here,” said Crum. “Having such close ties to my family, it didn’t make sense to go to California or New York to jump. I have to have my team here, my family. I knew I wanted to stay in the Midwest.”
Crum, who will major in economics with a minor in theology, also has another major goal on his mind.
“There’s talk about hitting the Olympic standards in the next two years which would place me at Tokyo in the 2020 Olympics and even the 2024 Olympics,” he said. “I’m one of the United States’ best jumpers as far as youths coming up. I’ve been in the top three, top five every year and this year has been no different. When you here talks about that, I could actually represent the United States and have that flag on my back. That’s what I really get fired up about.”