By Brad Spencer
Peter Geraghty has been soaring to new heights for well over five years now and the 2009 Oak Park and River Forest High School graduate isn't ready to come down anytime soon.
You see, Peter Geraghty is a pole vaulter, and he should probably be referred to as Mr. Pole Vaulter around these parts.
You may remember Mr. Pole Vaulter years ago catapulting himself up into the Oak Park sky, drawn to the dangerous sport by his brother, Tom, also a former vaulter for OPRF who went on compete at the collegiate level.
As a junior in high school, Mr. Pole Vaulter surpassed the 23-year-old indoor vault record at OPRF with a vault of 15-feet-1-inch. During his senior year he tied an outdoor sectional meet record of 14-9 held by his brother. He then finished fourth at the Class 3A state meet held at Eastern Illinois University, a place where he would eventually find his way back to.
But first on the docket was conquering NCAA Division III.
In 2011, Mr. Pole Vaulter won the event at the NCAA Division III Outdoor Championships while competing for North Central College, where he earned All-American status.
But it hasn't all been gravity-defying joy for Mr. Pole Vaulter. Last January, the former Huskie endured a painful mishap. Here's what he told us about that incident:
"Pole vaulting is fun, but it can also be dangerous sometimes if you aren't careful. To make a long story short, I missed the pit, and braced myself with my wrists, breaking both of them."
It's alright to cringe, but remember Peter Geraghty is a pole vaulter, born tough, fearless and determined. Still, two broken wrists at the same time? Might be enough to hang up the pole and use it as a clothesline in the backyard.
Mr. Pole Vaulter transferred to EIU before the start of this school year and as a redshirt senior qualified for the NCAA Division I Indoor Nationals with a vault of 17-10 1/2.
"The process for coming back was long and hard," he says. "I eventually had to have surgery on one of the wrists because it didn't heal quite right. They still bother me during some exercises. However, when I'm jumping I don't feel them at all."
Spoken like a true pole vaulter.
Peter cites longtime OPRF coaches Tim Gamble, Kevin Allen, and Tim Hasso among those who influenced his pole vaulting prowess over the years. He's grateful for their unselfish contributions that not only helped lead to his individual success in the sport, but, hopefully, set him on his career path.
Dreams for the future, Mr. Pole Vaulter?
"Hopefully taking pole vault as far as it can go, and getting into coaching during and, more intensely, after my days of competing are over."