Between attempts, Boise High pole vaulter Seth Nims wrapped himself in blankets and huddled under an oversized umbrella with his teammates.
With the rain coming down and wind gusts at more than 30 mph, it was a miserable day to compete.
Nims didn’t seem to mind.
The sophomore never lost his smile, winning the event with a clearance of 13 feet — 2 feet higher than his nearest competitor — at the YMCA Invitational track and field meet Saturday at Mountain View High.
Never miss a local story.
Although his performance wasn’t anywhere near his personal best and state-leading mark of 14-6, Nims said he was more focused on proving he could overcome the difficult conditions.
“Honestly, I just wanted to clear a height. If I cleared one, I didn’t really care if I cleared any more,” Nims said. “I just wanted to show myself that I can vault in this kind of weather and make myself more confident in case there’s ever a situation like this again.”
According to athletic.net, Nims ranks among the top 10 nationally in the sophomore class. His goal is to surpass 15 feet before the season is over.
It isn’t an unreasonable goal, and Nims has to look no further than his own father for inspiration.
Asa Nims, who coaches pole vault for the Braves, was a walk-on at Boise State who eventually earned a scholarship. The elder Nims cleared a career-best 16-4.75 at an indoor meet in Fresno, and he took third at the Big Sky Championships in 1992 at 16-2.5.
Asa grew up in Kamiah and was almost exclusively self-taught. His father put together a makeshift pole vault pit on their property and used a branch instead of the traditional plastic bar as the height marker.
“We didn’t have a (pole vault) coach or anything, so I would just do whatever it took to get over the bar,” Asa said.
Seth’s introduction to the sport was much more traditional.
From the time he was 5, the younger Nims tagged along with his father during Boise practices and chatted up the high school vaulters while they waited in line for their turn to jump.
Asa would let Seth “mess around” sometimes after practice, but Seth didn’t start getting serious about the sport until the summer before ninth grade.
A hip flexor injury sidelined Seth for six weeks his freshman outdoor season. He returned shortly before the district meet but failed to qualify for state.
“That’s definitely inspired me to work harder,” Seth said.
FOR THE RECORD
There were five event records or state-leading marks established over the weekend in championship finals.
▪ Pocatello sophomore Harlee Hales bested her own state-leading time in the girls 400 meters by winning in 56.12 seconds. It also broke the YMCA meet record of 56.25 set by Bishop Kelly’s Ali Eisenbeiss in 2011.
▪ Rocky Mountain’s Megan Boals, Arianna Ghiorso, Payton Fratusco and Faith Dilmore combined for the state’s No. 1 time in the girls 4x800 relay in 9:47.26.
▪ Pocatello’s girls 800 sprint medley team won in 1:51.04 — a meet and state-leading time. Timberline held the previous meet record of 1:52.14 since 2013.
▪ Capital junior Britt Ipsen improved on his own state-best in the boys long jump with a leap of 23-3.5. Ipsen also won the high jump (6-2).
▪ Rocky Mountain’s Anthony Ghiorso, Evan Thieme, Tanner Roark and Michael Slagowski set the meet record in the boys 4x800 relay with a time of 8:06.23, erasing Timberline’s time of 8:08.82 from 2011.