MAY 19, 1997
Adam Landa pole-vaulting 11 feet.
Photo by Kathy Roach/Northwest News.
by Madeline Moore
Bothell High pole-vaulters Adam Landa, Laurant Gross, and Eric Heizler won first, second, and third places, respectively, at the JV Kingco track and field events at Woodinville last week.
The three sophomores had qualified to compete in the Varsity Kingco track finals, but decided to compete for the top JV titles. Bothell pole-vault coach Don Mercer, who also happens to be Adam's stepfather, gave them their choice.
In addition to the pole-vaulters' hard work, determination, and natural ability, some of their success is due to the "field of dreams" Mercer has built in his back yard. It was nicknamed that by Mercer's wife, Colleen, when a back hoe dug a trench down the middle of the yard and turned the whole area into a pole-vaulting pit. Mercer was able to purchase surplus pole-vault foam rubber pits from Bothell High School, and soon kids began to show up.
Mercer, who competed in high school and college, introduced Adam and his friends to the sport. "It's the best circus act in the world," he says. "When you get the kids to the point where they can bend the pole and ride, they're hooked."
"Our house is a zoo," Mercer says. "It's full of competing pole-vaulters. But the camaraderie is great. The kids compete against the bar."