Last year's elite high school girls division was outstanding. The boys event was also extremely competitive as 17-1 won last year's elite boys event and you had to clear 15-4 to place.
As good as both elite competitions were last year, this year's elite boys flight could be better than both. Several boys who competed last year are back along with some new Expo blood.
This year's elite boys could be the highlight of the event and here are some factors why:
One World Record holder
Four D-1 commits
Six states are represented
Eight state champions
Isaiah Whitaker (Bloomington Corpus Cristi, IL)
Word Record holder Isaiah Whitaker is one to watch out for this weekend. His 16-2 is the best ever at age 14, including higher than Mondo Duplantis. Whitaker who comperes for Flying Dragons PV Club, the same club that produced 19-footer Zach Bradford. Whitaker will compete in high school in a few weeks, but he with a few days remaining in 2022, he could have accomplishments still on the calendar. He won the Intermediate boys group last year.
Wyatt Stewart (Madison Central, KY)
Stewart is no stranger to the Expo. In fact, last year, he put the Explosion in the Expo Explosion when he jumped 17-5.75 for the win. He even jumped 17-2 and 17-7 later in the indoor season. The Kentucky state champion and South Dakota commit could really bring even more heat to the Expo this year.
Cody Johnston (Hobart, IN)
The Indiana state pole vault champion will be in the house. Johnston was fifth last year at the Expo when he jumped 16-4.75. With this year's competition expected to be even deeper, expect the Illinois commit to be in the mix once again. Johnston can sky high with the best of them as he PRed last indoor season at 16-7 and outdoors at 17-0.
Ryley Klefstad (Tomball Concordia Lutheran, TX)
Klefstad is one of the few guys in this year's competition who was a 17-footer last year. He went 17-2.25 last year and returns for his senior year ready to jump higher.
Dyson Wicker (Rockwall Heath HS, TX)
Wicker jumped 14-8 last year at the Expo. So, how did he get into the elite boys field? Well, so far this year, he is that dude! In his last three meets of this indoor season (15-3, 15-6, and 15-7), Wicker has already jumped higher than he ever has. He has improved successively and he has a 16 foot vault waiting to happen.
Jackson Merrill (Orem, UT)
Two-time outdoor Utah pole vault state champion Merrill is no stranger to indoor competitions, but this is his first time in Belton. The Multi-event star jumped a 15-6 PR last year to win the Utah state title.
Cade DeWitt (Bentonville West, AR)
DeWitt is another Expo first timer, and he is going to be a very good compliment. He jumped 15-7 indoors last season and was the Arkansas indoor state champ. He was runner-up at the outdoor state meet, but he still improved to a 16-4.75 PR. Committed to Louisville.
Sean Gribble (Aledo, TX)
Many are unaware of Gribble, but things won't stay that way for long. He went from 14-feet to 15-6 last year by the end of the summer at the MAC Vault Academy's Summer National Championships. He has already topped that with his 15-7 vault at the Texas Express Holiday Classic, two weeks ago. Gribble is focused on getting inverted and getting on big poles and that could result in a breakout party this weekend.
Colton Harrison (Gregory-Portland, TX)
If you think you see Superman or an NFL football player on the runway, you don't have to do a double take. It's just Colton Harrison and all six feet three inch and 200 pound of his muscular stature vaulting this weekend. Now that football season is over, the GP wide receiver/athlete will turn his focus to the pole vault and multi-events. The 15-6 vaulter was fourth at the UIL 5A state meet last year and could be ready to explode at the Expo.
Preston Pilgrim (Pleasanton, TX)
Pleasanton junior Pilgrim jumped 14-2 last year at the Expo. He was so far advanced beyond that by the end of last season. He improved his placement at the state meet going from fifth the runner-up last year. He topped out at 15-7 at the MAC Vault Academy's Summer National Championships.
Kyle Hensley (Mt. Zion, IL)
Another Central Illinois pole vault star will compete at the Expo. Hensley was the third place finisher at the Illinois 2A state meet. He has a 15-1 PR and already warmed up at 14-7.25 a couple of weeks ago.
Leo Bowen (San Antonio Alamo Heights, TX)
Bowen was second in his flight last year at the Expo, clearing 15-8. He was only able to jump 15-0 last outdoor season, however he has already hit 16-0 this indoor season at the Texas Express Holiday Classic at MAC Vault. He could really climb poles and clear bars with the competition this weekend.
Parker Brannon (Fort Bend Ridge Point, TX)
Brannon won group four last year with a 14-4 jump. That might not tell you the kid can jump, but he eventually went 15-9 during the indoor season. This weekend starts Brannon's senior season and he could be looking to kick it off with a bang.
Tanner Woodring (Vanderbilt Industrial, TX)
Woodring is the UIL 3A state meet runner-up from last season. He jumped a 15-9 PR to grab the silver medal and he has started off this season with a 15-0 jump at the MAC Vault Paul Golibart Memorial Meet.
Zimmerman jumped 14-8 last year at the Expo to finish second in his flight. He improved to consistently jumping at 15-6 and that helped him finish fifth at the UIL 6A state meet.