Columbia Independent School senior Khristen Bryant picked up pole vault later than most, but her gymnastics experience helped her excel quickly to become a state champion and now one of the country's best (Tied for 19th nationally) and put her second on the all-time Missouri Girls performance list with her 13-0 clearance at last week's Class 1 Sectional 1 meet at Lutheran North High School.
Bryant's father Micheal, ran cross country at Northwest Missouri State University, and Bryant got started running early in life. But didn't take to full track and field until her middle school years at the Pre-K through High School Columbia Independent School. Bryant ran three years of cross country at CIS and just hurdles as a freshman on the track team, as a broken ankle in the winter of her freshman year kept her from trying pole vault that year. Bryant's sophomore year she found former standout vaulter turned phenomenal coached Todd Cooper and his Just Vault club and training center in Excelsior Springs. That year she captured the Class 1 State title in the vault with a personal best 10-4.25, setting the Class 1 State Meet Record.