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July 07, 2020
Getting to Know......Max Manson
photo: John Nepolitan
We recently had the opportunity to GET TO KNOW......Max Manson a bit better and now want to offer you the opportunity to get to know him as well. He is an interesting young man that excelled in the pole vault during his high school years but is also is an avid and advanced rock climber and has many hobbies outside of track & field including rocketry and adventure film production. His film work can be seen via his Adventures of Max YouTube channel.
Manson, of Superior, graduated from Monarch High School in 2019 and just completed his freshmen year at Stanford. He comes from a track & field family. His mother, Amy, competed at Indiana University and competed in three Olympic Trials (5000m career best of 15:55), his father, Pat, was a world class pole vaulter with a best of 19-2¼, and his sister, Mia, is also a pole vaulter (13-7 career best) who recently graduated from Monarch High School and will matriculate to Michigan this fall.
Manson finished his scholastic career as the Colorado state meet record holder (17-3½) and #2 (17-5½) on the all-time Colorado prep list. The state meet record was previously held by his father who holds the #1 all-time Colorado mark of 18-0.
So let's GET TO KNOW.....Max Manson.
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Tell us about how you got your start as a pole vaulter?
I’m lucky to have been around it my whole life. My dad was an elite vaulter and does high school pole vault camps every summer as well as coaching at our club, so I’ve been exposed to it for a long time. However, aside from occasional “for fun” practices, I never really did it seriously until around 8th grade. By Freshman year of high school, I decided to start training seriously for it.
Did you play other sports before specializing in track & field?
My first sport was gymnastics, starting when I was 5, until I was 9 or 10. I then joined a rock climbing team and that was my main sport until I was 14 or so. I think those two sports gave me a perfect background for pole vaulting, and helped with the sport immensely. I continue to climb regularly and feel like it really contributes to the vault. Perfect cross training.
You have been very successful during your high school career; what would you consider the two most memorable highlights so far?
Jumping 17’3.5” at the CO State Meet last year to break my dads 32 year old meet record and winning the meet. The other was just this winter, when I jumped 17’5.5” to win New Balance Nationals.
Favorite subject in school?
I like Science. One of my classes is an engineering class where we design and build cool projects. It is definitely my favorite class.
Something unique about you that we might not know about you?
I’m really into building model rockets! I have one that’s over 8 feet tall. Another project went almost two miles high, and broke the sound barrier!
Just a fun day out vaulting! Especially getting on stiff poles that have a lot of “pop”.
Favorite Place to Train?
Above the Bar Pole Vault Club, where I learned, and where I train outside of the HS Season.
Tibets Restaurant, delicious Tibeten/Nepalese cuisine with cooks and servers who have climbed Everest.
Lumineers, Mumford and Sons, Radical Face, etc. I guess you would call that “alternative”.
Favorite TV Shows?
I don’t watch much tv, but Stranger Things and Lost in Space are pretty good.
Instagram, Snapchat, or Twitter?
Instagram all the way. I don’t have Snapchat or twitter.
If you could have lunch with one person who would it be?
Alex Honnold! I’ve always thought he is a super cool guy, and it would be super interesting to have a great conversation (and climb) with him.
Elon Musk...on Mars.
Your Role Model?
A lot of professional climbers and vaulters.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give to a 14-year old Max Manson?
I’d leave it be... pretty happy with where things are going!
You just finished your freshmen year at Stanford. What other schools did you visit and what went into your final decision to select Stanford?
I also visited Washington, Air Force Academy, Oregon, and Kansas for my official visits. They were all pretty close and I think I could have been happy at most of them, but Stanford is hard to beat. I really like the way they encourage creating, designing and hands-on learning.
How was your first year at Stanford?
The first year was great while it lasted! I really enjoyed my classes, met a ton of great people, and being on the track team was really fun. Unfortunately that got cut short, but I’m looking forward to going back.
Have you declared a major yet?
Not yet but I am looking at majoring in Geology or some type of Earth Science.
What do you see yourself doing in 5 years? 10 years?
I’m not really sure what the future will hold, but I know it will definitely include pole vaulting, climbing, and travelling.