Pryce Mason first gave the pole vault a try as a seventh grader.
It turned out to be a great decision.
“One of the coaches pulled me aside and he told me he thought I could be a good pole vaulter,” Mason recalled of that fateful day. “I tried it in seventh grade and I’ve loved it ever since.”
Now an experienced performer in his signature event, Mason has been ascending to new heights this spring.
A senior at Webb City High School, Mason continues to soar higher and higher in the pole vault, breaking his own school record multiple times throughout the 2021 campaign.
Although he was unable to secure a new personal best, Mason once again topped the field in the pole vault at Friday’s Webb City Invitational by clearing 14 feet, 1 inch.
Like he’s done all season, Mason contributed big points as the Cardinals won their third meet of the season.
“I could have done a lot better today,” Mason said. “But it just shows me areas I can improve. But our team did great today. We performed well all-around.”
Mason’s legs may have been a bit fatigued by the time he vaulted, as he ran the sprints earlier in the meet, finishing fifth in the 100-meter dash.
And as soon as Mason finished up vaulting, he volunteered to run a leg of Webb City’s 4×400-meter relay team that finished third.
Webb City coach Dustin Miller said Mason is one of several seniors on the squad who continue to have success due to hard work and dedication.
“Pryce is rock solid and I’m just really proud of the kid,” Miller said. “He competes like a wild man. His selflessness really stands out to me. He doesn’t mind running relays. He wants to contribute any possible way he can to help the team. He doesn’t care if his legs are gone when he’s trying to vault. He ran a 100 and a 200 before he vaulted today. He’d go run the 4×400 and then finish vaulting if he had to. A bunch of guys in this state who can go 15-6 wouldn’t dream of doing any other event. Guys like Pryce, Luke Brumit and Mekhi Garrard just want to help the team have success.”
Mason has been standing out in his signature event since his sophomore year. That spring, Mason cleared 14 feet at the sectional and went 14-3 at the district meet, a school record.
At the 2019 state track meet, Mason finished 12th in Class 4 by clearing 13-6.
Of course, there was no track and field season in 2020. With that, Mason is making up for lost time in his final prep campaign.
At the 2021 season-opening Carthage Invitational, Mason set a meet record and school record by clearing 14-7.25.
Mason cleared a personal best 14-9 at the Southwest Baptist Bearcat Classic in Bolivar.
On Friday, inside the friendly confines of Cardinal Stadium, Mason had hoped to clear at least 15 feet even, but it wasn’t meant to be just yet.
“He attempted 15 feet and his hip height was great,” Miller said. “He just came down on it.”
It’s now May and the regular season has concluded. Championship season begins at Thursday’s Central Ozark Conference Meet in Branson.
District, sectional and state meets will follow.
Mason hopes to continue to soar higher and higher, with the ultimate goal of peaking at the state track meet.
“My goal is 15-6,” Mason said. “And I would love to be a state champion. Consistency is the key to success…and just making sure I have good practices. We’ll see what happens.”
Miller is confident Mason will conclude his senior season in a big way.
“As we get later in the season, and his events become more limited, he’s going to pop off some really big marks,” Miller said. “I really hope he can go 15-6 and compete for a state championship.”