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Litchfield brings exhibition to Del Oro

Placer grad aiming for 19-0 vault prior to Olympic Trials
By: Justin A. Lawson Journal Sports Writer
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LOOMIS – The Del Oro High pole vault record has stood at 14-8 since 1999 and the stadium record at 15-4 since 2009. So when Robbert-Jan Jansen cleared 18-1 it almost wasn’t fair. Jansen was part of a pole vaulting exhibition along with Bear River grad Paul Litchfield, who is attempting to reach the “A” standard qualifying height for the U.S. Olympic Team. Jansen, a native of the Netherlands, was just four inches shy of the height he needed to qualify for the European championships. The exhibition was held congruently with Del Oro’s dual meet with Roseville, which gave the high school athletes an up-close look at top-caliber vaulters. “I want them to see that you can keep competing after high school and even after college,” Litchfield said. “It’s not the easiest thing to do but you can do it and it’s a lot of fun. You make a lot of good friends and you get to go on a lot of good adventures.” Litchfield’s latest adventure has led him to his parent’s backyard where he setup a practice facility as he prepares for the U.S. Olympic Trials in June and has helped him bring in other professionals like Jansen. “He didn’t do much,” Jansen said about what Litchfield had to do get him to the U.S. “I knew him from when he came over to Europe and I’ve been in the U.S. with Paul in 2006, ‘07 and ‘08 and didn’t come back around until this year. Paul said he had a sweet setup at home where he could jump at home.” Litchfield will vault again Sunday at Stanford and Wednesday at Folsom High. Litchfield vaulted 18-1 but failed on his attempts at 18-5, well short of his goal of 19-0. “When I get that out of the way I can go to the trials with confidence knowing that I have both my Olympic ‘A’ standard so I can make the team and that I’ve done it before so I can go in there with my head held high and give those guys a run for their money,” Litchfield said.