Aztec senior will pole vault at UNK

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AZTEC – Aztec senior Lindsey Larabee will pole vault at the University of Nebraska-Kearney next year after signing his national letter of intent on Friday at Aztec High School.

The decision to commit to UNK was an easy one for the Tiger track and field standout, since his sister, Emily, lives near the campus.

"I emailed a couple of coaches to get in contact with, but my sister living up there was a big factor," Larabee said. "And (UNK) got back with me pretty quick and seemed excited to have me on their team."

Larabee said he's close to his sister, who let him stay with her while he visited the campus earlier this year to meet with the Lopers coaching staff.

UNK is currently in the midst of its track and field season, which started in late December. The Lopers, who compete in the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association of the NCAA's Division II, placed first out of 10 schools during the April 8 MIAA vs. Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Showdown.

Larabee said he sees parallels between UNK's track and field program and that of Aztec, which was another contributing factor to his commitment.

"(UNK) is a lot like Aztec, and they have very high morals," Larabee said. "I'm just real excited to go vault for them."

Larabee couldn't be having a better season in 2016. He has finished first in pole vaulting in all five meets that Aztec has been in to date, but he said he's not satisfied.

"The school record is (14 feet, 6 inches) at Aztec," he said. "I'm going to try and break that here soon."

Tigers track and field coach Steve Lanier has been coaching or mentoring Larabee since the senior was in sixth grade. Larabee said he considers Lanier to be a family friend and said the coach has meant a lot to his development on the field.

"My dad coached football with (Lanier) a couple years back," Larabee said. "Once I started to vault for him, he's just been there for me always. He's like family."

Larabee is the nephew of Anna Strauss, who coaches the Lady Tigers track and field squad. Strauss said she and Lanier oversee both the boys and girls teams, and are more than familiar with each others' athletes. Strauss thinks Larabee is only going to get better at the next level.

"He has the total body type of a great heptathlete," Strauss said. "I could see him being a 17-foot pole vaulter. I mean, he has the ability to be that good."

Larabee said he's unsure if the Lopers coaches will eventually transition him into a decathlete, but he does know that he'll be exclusively pole vaulting during his freshman year. His scholarship covers $6,700 toward tuition, and he said he plans to major in construction management.

Jake Newby covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577. 

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