Bingham’s Stetler builds on family’s legacy of greatness

Track and field a family passion for Hannah Stetler, whose siblings competed at Utah, BYU.
South Jordan • It was at least part family obligation that led Bingham freshman Hannah Stetler to take up pole vaulting three years ago.
Hannah’s sister Alyssa did the running — the 2-mile and 3,000 meters for the University of Utah — and brother Zach did the throwing — shot put, discus, hammer and javelin for BYU.
“We have a track family,” Hannah said. “We had a runner and a thrower, and we needed a jumper.”
She sort of completed the Stetler family track and field triple crown.
Crown is an appropriate symbol, given her success for the Miners this season. Stetler, just a freshman, will be among the favorites this week at the Class 5A state track and field championships at BYU. She already set the girls state record with a jump of 11 feet, 6 inches, and she routinely clears 12 feet in practice.
It’s more than genetics that has Stetler in position to dominate the sport that was sanctioned in 2015, the same year she began vaulting as a seventh-grader. Her background in gymnastics has played a large role in being instantly comfortable twisting and contorting her body in the air.
“It’s a lot of body awareness when you’re upside down and doing flips,” said Stetler, who also dabbles in the long jump. “Gymnastics helped a lot.”
Bingham pole vault coach Kody Pierce says it’s also the work ethic and toughness Stetler developed in the gym that has helped launch her success so early in her high school career.
“She’s always been a hard worker,” said Pierce, who has worked with Stetler since she took up the sport. “She was primed to be a good vaulter. There’s just nobody that works harder than her and is more dedicated than she is.”
The dedication was rewarded April 1 at Utah Valley University when Stetler broke the state mark of 11 feet, 3 inches, held by Herriman’s Brielle Carr.
So what’s it like to set a state record, to launch higher than nearly any other high school girl in the state?
“There’s not a lot of time to think when you’re on a pole that’s bending,” the Bingham freshman said. “I have my little routine that I tell myself, and while you’re running, you’re just counting.”
She counts every other step, focuses on a few one- and two-word reminders, and it’s up, up and away. Higher and higher she goes. Sky’s the limit. Literally.
It’s a lonely sport, with vaulters competing against themselves as much as they are each other. Not all schools compete in pole vault because the sport still is so new. That means Stetler often is left to compete against herself at meets. But that won’t be the case Friday. She’ll be up against two other state-record holders in Westlake’s Adara Christensen, who currently holds the state mark at 11-7, and Carr.
“I try to just think about what I can do,” Stetler “There’s good competition, which ultimately leads you to do better. I try not to get stressed out. [Winning] would be really exciting. I would be super happy.”
Pierce believes a state title is within reach, but he expects much bigger things from Stetler before her time at Bingham is finished.
“I fully expect her to be a legitimate 12-foot jumper this year,” Pierce said. “I don’t think 13 is out of reach for next year. I can see her being a 14-foot jumper in high school. She could be that caliber of a vaulter.”
Closer look at Hannah Stetler
• The Bingham freshman is among the favorites in the girls pole vault at the Class 5A state championships this week.
• Stetler set the state mark with a jump of 11 feet, 6 inches April 1. The mark was eclipsed by 1 inch last week.
• Stetler’s siblings both competed in track and field at the collegiate level. Sister Alyssa was a distance runner at Utah and brother Zach is a thrower at BYU.