Easley’s Keith Wells wins 4A State Championship in Pole Vault

Athletes receiving their medals for pole vault at the 2023 4A State Championship.

Keith Wells, a Junior at Easley High School, walked away with a win at the 4A State Championship on Friday night for pole vault.

“From the moment I met Keith, I knew he was a special athlete,” his coach Braxton Sheriff said. “He has a God-given talent and works very hard. That combination alone makes him such a special athlete. No body will outwork him. I am very proud of what he has already accomplished. With him winning the State Championship, that is something that has not been done by an individual at Easley in 21 years. He has the type of work ethic and ability that he could go win another State Championship next year.”

Keith first started running Track 2 years ago. He was actually playing Soccer and doing Track at the same time. His track coaches told him that he could really excel at Track, but he would need to devote more time to it.

Last year, he did just that and ran Track as his main sport. He finished 9th at the State Championship with a vault of 11 feet. He was also Region Champion in the Pole Vault with a vault of 12 ft 6 inches.

This year he had bigger goals than just making it to the state championship, he wanted to win it.

“He wants to be the best athlete that he can be, no matter the event,” Coach Sheriff said. “Not only is he a pole vaulter, but he is a tremendous jumper as well. He learned to long jump and triple jump last year and this year he made it to the state championship for the Triple Jump too.”

His biggest struggle was balancing everything going on in his life. Not only was he learning new events this year, but he had to work hard in the classroom to keep his grades up. This year was one of his toughest year of classes. He also is very involved with his church and wanted to keep up with that too.

“Everything Keith does he gives it 110%, so it was hard for him to give his very best to everything he’s involved in; however, he did just that, and excelled at everything.”

Pole vaulter Keith Wells with his EHS Track and Field coaches.

This year he did not win the Region Championship, but he was Upper State Champion clearing a height of 14 ft. In pole vault, he won 3 meets and in the triple jump he won 2 meets.

His best vault came at the State Championship vaulting 14 ft 6 inches. His best triple jump came at the Region Championship where he jumped 42 ft 8 inches. You can watch his winning jump in the clip below.

EHS Track and Field Keith Wells doing his winning pole vault at the State Championship.

His coach calls Keith a “team-first” athlete.

“He actually called me before the season and asked me what he could do the most to help our team. He was willing to learn new events and also work on his running events too. He is always cheering on his teammates no matter which event(s) they are competing in.”

According to Coach Sheriff, his teammates think he’s incredible as well.

“I had several athletes tell me that they are so proud of Keith for winning the state championship! They are amazed at how high he can pole vault. When we go to most meets, the Easley pole vaulters are among the best and his teammates get to see how much higher they all go vs everyone else. In the pole vault, our boys team had 4 out of the top 5 vaulters in the entire state. His pole vault teammates push each other every day and they were consistently among the top vaulters in the state this year. They all were so excited that Keith won.”

So what’s next for Wells? Keith has always been one to set his goals high. Once he gets something on his mind, he is determined to do it. He wants to compete collegiately as a Decathlete. He has already started mapping out his next year and what he wants to accomplish.

In the pole vault he wants to clear 16 ft and repeat as State Champion. He also wants to improve his long jump to 23 ft, while improving his triple jump to 50 ft. If he does that in the long and triple jump, that would put him as one of the top jumpers in all of South Carolina.

Currently Keith does not have a plan finalized for college yet. His coaches expect that based on his performances this year, he will begin to hear from several college coaches.

“He is already getting some interest now. He is a tremendous athlete and there’s no doubt in my mind he can compete highly at the next level.”

Click here for all EHS track athletes who qualified for the State Championship.

Click here for the complete list Track State Championship results.