Last spring, Trumansburg’s Dom Mikula was looking to capture an NYSPHSAA state title in the boy’s pole vault. On the biggest stage in his high school career, Mikula put on a perforce to be remembered as he vaulted over 15 feet to capture the top spot on the podium in Syracuse. While Mikula reached the pinnacle of the high school sports world, he now has his eyes on an even greater goal.
Entering college is often a time of great change in a young person’s life, but enrolling at Ithaca College has not forced a change in Mikula’s drive to be an elite track and field athlete.
With the indoor track and field season in its infancy for the Ithaca Bombers, Mikula is already making his name known around the local collegiate scene and the national scene. In his first collegiate meet, he propelled his way to a fourth-place finish among a field of 17 competitors at the Greg Page Relays at neighboring Cornell. In his debut performance, Mikula recorded the highest height, 4.50 meters (14.76 feet), of his Bomber teammates and a mark higher than four Division I competitors. The fourth-place finish would be finalized as the highest among Division III athletes at the meet.
In a follow-up outing, Mikula would shine for a second time this indoor season as he would, not only, lead the way for the Bombers, but would set a new high water mark for his team. In a dual meet against SUNY Cortland at Ithaca College’s Athletics and Events Center, he used his familiarity with his home facility to pass on the opening height and enter the competition at 4.10 meters, or 13 feet 5.4 inches. From his entrance into the event, Mikula cruised his way to the victory after clearing 4.55 on his first attempt while the five other remaining competitors missed their three allotted attempts at the height.
When a vaulter stands as the sole remaining jumper in the field, the next height becomes the choice of the victor. For Mikula, after his winning jump, he set his sights on a mark that draws the attention of every track and field athlete: a school record. The Ithaca College pole vault record belonged to Martin Desmery. Set in the spring of 2018, Desmery’s record jump was recorded at 4.71 meters. Mikula looked to surpass Desmery’s mark by .01 meters or eight-tenths of an inch. After missing his first attempt at history, Mikula saw the bar still in place as he returned to earth with a clear and the school record.
“I went into the day with the mindset of jumping my best and seeing what I could do,” Mikula said. “We had talked about the record the day before because we knew we all were close to it, but I just jumped the best I could.” The best he could jump has landed Mikula in the national spotlight as the second highest height in the country at the Division III level. The lone jumper ahead of Mikula is Southern Maine’s Ron Helderson, a senior. “It’s hard to believe that last year I was the best in the state and now I am number two in the nation,” he said. “It’s just so incredible.”
Mikula credits the collegiate style of training for his continued growth from his time at Trumansburg to his time as a Bomber. The new program sees him taking part in practice jumps twice a week while the remaining three days of practice consist of a strength training regimen.
While the season is still beginning, Mikula has his sights set on chasing a national title and taking his abilities to new heights with every jump.
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