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Hammerschmidt launches Twin Valley Pole Vault

A pole vaulter clears the bar during a recent session at Twin Valley Pole Vault.

NEW ULM — Even at the age of 23 and five years out of high school, Jon Hammerschmidt still continues to promote track and field — more specifically, pole vaulting.

Hammerschmidt, who graduated from New Ulm High School in 2016, competed as a pole vaulter for the New Ulm track and field team. He still holds the school record of 13-feet-11 inches, which he set in 2016. Hammerschmidt currently is the school’s pole vaulting coach and his passion for the sport has grown.

Hammerschmidt recently launched Twin Valley Pole Vault. In facilities in his back yard, he will teach everything from the basics to anyone of any age all the way to advanced techniques for experienced vaulters.

“I realized for all the stuff I had to do to try to get proper coaching and try to get proper equipment and for how much fun I had, I felt like I had to help others not have to struggle so much to be introduced to the sport,” he said. “I have my roots in New Ulm so I figured I’d start it up there.”

His business is at 326 South Front Street in New Ulm and for now, it’s pretty basic.

Emily Pearson, Leandra Jorgensen, Grace Pearson, Jon Hammerschmidt of Twin Valley Pole Vault pose for a picture recently.

Hammerschmidt coached at Tri City United High School for three years before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. He said he got the opportunity to buy some of the basic equipment for vaulting and he set that up in his own back yard.

He now has a small facility which is designed for private lessons and he has a few high school student-athletes from surrounding schools, such as Lake Crystal-Wellcome Memorial and Waseca, to new name a few.

Hammerschmidt is trying to see the numbers rise for area pole vaulters. He started coaching at New Ulm High School this past spring and he was happy with the numbers he had. He said that when he was in high school, the numbers were down but there was quality at the sport.

“We had about four or five [pole vaulters], but at least the five of us somewhat held our own,” Hammerschmidt said. “We were at least average for most of the track meets, if not better. This last year, I coached for New Ulm Public as well and we had 12 on varsity. So we had some pretty big numbers for what New Ulm is used to.”

He said the age-range of the pole vaulters goes from middle school all the way up to a senior in high school. He’s hoping the numbers continue to grow despite the short season for track and field in Minnesota.

Jon Hammerschmidt instructs a younger pole vaulter during a recent session at Twin Valley Pole Vault.

And while he’s trying to grow the numbers at the high school level, he wants to introduce adults into the sport also.

“People don’t realize that just because you’re out of high school or college doesn’t mean you have to stop trying to pole vault,” Hammerschmidt said. “In Minnesota, we have a group of guys who are 50-plus years of age and they’re going pole vaulting every week. They’re practicing, they’re going to meets. There’s the Senior Games, where all ages where people can compete, you can be in your 60s, 70s, there’s even a 100-year old person competing in pole vault, so I want it to be not just for young kids who physically feel good every day. I want adults to try it, any age group is my goal with this. It’s a fun thing to do, and also at the same time, you’re getting a complete, full-body workout. Usually you see a pretty big increase in people’s ability once they start doing it.”

Besides coaching at TCU and New Ulm, he’s also helped coach at Minnesota State University, Mankato. He said his goal has always been to have his own private lessons for those interested in the sport.

Because he can’t coach New Ulm High School kids in the offseason [Minnesota State High School League rules], he has students from Waseca, Lake Crystal Wellcome Memorial, Springfield and Fairmont.

“If they want to continue to get better at pole vaulting, those schools down here don’t have a pole vaulting coach, let alone the equipment to do it, you have to drive up to the Cities, there’s a few clubs up there that provide the services I do, I just wanted to bring those amenities down here,” Hammerschmidt said. “I just wanted to make it available for kids to get better and just try it for the first time, if you can’t do it at school, then you’re stuck.”

Jon Hammerschmidt recently started up Twin Valley Pole Vault in his backyard, located at 326 S. Front Street in New Ulm.

Hammerschmidt said he only has outdoor facilities at this time, but he hopes it continues to grow.

He also wanted to stress that the sport is safe despite the fact that people believe it’s dangerous.

“People think you’re going to get hurt or die, but you gotta realize, how many huge accidents there are in football,” Hammerschmidt said. “In pole vault, if you look at the numbers, there aren’t nearly the number of accidents. I get it that there aren’t as many people competing, but it’s not as dangerous as it looks as long as you have a person instructing you the right way. I pride myself in that I have yet to have anyone get injured.”

Anyone interested can contact him at Jonathancarter1001@gmail.com

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