3 Don’t Sound Too Bad

Nationally recognized pole vaulter, Paul Migas enters this season in hopes of making school history, being the first-ever 3 time State Champion for Lakes Community High School.
Paul Migas Pole Vaulting
Paul Migas Pole Vaulting
Evan Dahl

The wind is blowing perfectly.

Legs are feeling good.

Each deep breath clears the mind and focuses on that vault sitting at 16 ‘1 inches.

Then junior Paul Migas is set on becoming Lakes’ second 2-time track and field state champion. With a final deep breath, Migas clears the vault becoming the 2023 IHSA 2A Pole Vault State Champion at 4.91 meters (16 ‘1”) breaking the former school record of 4.90 meters (16 ‘0”).

“Having what I would consider a really rough season for me, struggling with my jump, I was pumped up, winning this title and breaking the [school] record,” expressed Migas. “So this one meant a lot for me”

As the 2024 season commences, from winning multiple state championships to going against the top 10 players in the country and showing out consistently, to getting a full-ride scholarship to one of the best pole vaulting programs in the nation, Migas is only going further from here. Nationally ranked, senior Migas is putting the whole nation of track and field on notice with his performances and he is not stopping any time soon.

Starting when he was just in middle school, his potential showed right away as he was able to win the Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) State Championship in only his second year doing the sport. Transitioning from middle school to high school wasn’t that big of a difference with him already being ahead of most people in the state his freshman year.

Seeing his own potential, Migas knew he had to do whatever it took to make it to the top. He joined his current club, RISE Pole Vault to get the mentorship and support from 7-time D-III National Champion and World Team member, Luke Winder. “[Paul] was hitting marks very quickly that compared well to mine when I was in high school,” said Coach Winder. Winder also being a former top high school pole vault athlete in the country, that is a very commendable thing to say for just a freshman at the time.

Being injured all freshman year, Migas unfortunately missed his entire freshman season. Missing his first high school season showed him that he needed to now catch up to everyone else and show that he was still one of the best in the state. That time off due to his injury ignited a fire inside Migas giving him the push that he needed. That is just the competitive nature of Migas. “Paul’s competitive nature would take him as far as his physical and technical limits would allow,” said Migas’ parents, Ray and Linda Migas. This was enough for him to earn his first IHSA state title in the 2022 outdoor track and field season at 4.80 meters (15 ‘7”). This feat accelerated him to show up on the national scene.

Fast forward to post-2023 IHSA State Championships, Migas has been traveling all over the country, getting his name out there, with the result of being ranked 3rd in the nation for pole vault. Being ranked that high in the country comes with the expectations of success. “I am the most consistent pole vaulter in the country, jumping above 17 feet more than 6 times”

“I am the most consistent pole vaulter in the country, jumping above 17 feet more than 6 times”

— Paul Migas

declared Migas. “I’ve shown the people at this school and in the country what I’m capable of, so if anything, I don’t feel the pressure from anybody else but me.” Not only is there the pressure of being nationally recognized but also the sacrifice being put to show out on the national scene. “Paul traveled to meets more than he had in the past. With that comes pressure to want to make sure you don’t waste an opportunity,” said Coach Winder.

Regardless of the amount of pressure that is being put on Migas, he is still doing all that he can to become the best athlete that he can be in the sport he has dedicated years of his life to. “He has a very good head on his shoulders and has been very dedicated to being himself this year. I admire that a lot,” expressed Coach Winder. “It’s difficult to make the right decisions to become the best YOU and stay in your lane but he has done that well.” The devotion Migas carries with this sport is one of no other. “When Paul is committed to doing something you can be assured that it will get 100% focus from him,” added Mr. and Mrs. Migas.

Coming into this 2024 season, Migas starts firing off with impressive feats.

Starting the season ranked top 5 nationally, his confidence is soaring through the roof. “I’ve never been more confident in myself than I am now, just because my training has been so good this year,” said Migas. “I have a great support system and with that, it makes it easy for me to achieve the goals that I have for myself.” Surrounded by the people he loves, Migas brings his support system to the New Balance Nationals where he was able to get an All American Status at one of the biggest stages in the country for track and field placing 4th with a height of 5.20 meters (17’ ¾”). He then attended the Adidas Track and Field Nationals, another one of the biggest stages for track and field, and became Lakes’ first National Champion, winning 1st with a height of 5.22 meters (17′ 1½”).

Paul has exceeded lots of people’s expectations when it comes to the success that he is having in pole vaulting despite the pressure that comes with it. Most of that comes from the grit he has been able to develop. “Compared to last year, as I’ve said before, he is a different athlete physically and mentally,” said Coach Winder. “He is one of the mentally toughest vaulters in the nation and I believe he is the best physical pole vaulter in the nation.”

With all the success that he is having in the season so far, it’s not unsafe to say Migas will become Lakes’ first athlete to win three state championships in a high school career.

“Three don’t sound too bad,” said Migas.

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