Brian Hauch would text and Parkview community coach Javier Munoz would be there.
Munoz’ efforts fueled an already decorated Hauch in a triumphant senior season.
“He’s a great motivator,” Hauch said. “Practice was maybe once or twice a week. It wasn’t a whole lot of practice, but they were quality practices. He would come out on the weekends if I asked him. Every single time it was at least two hours of quality practice. We had the bungees at 17 feet and that’s really where I feel like I progressed the most this year, was during those practices.”
Hauch, the Daily Post’s Boys Field Performer of the Year, was the state runner-up in the pole vault as a sophomore and a junior.
Last year was particularly tough. Hauch failed to surpass his personal record of 16 feet throughout the season and he lost the state title only on missed attempts.
“Brian, this year, after being runner-up twice, he was on a mission,” Parkview head coach Matt Henson said. “He was as focused as any person I’ve ever seen.”
Hauch came into the season with a different mindset.
“It was my senior season and I was already committed to Georgia Tech,” he said. “I didn’t feel like I had any pressure except what I put on myself.”
That mentality led him to ask Munoz for the extra training sessions.
“He’s just a motivator and he pushes me on the runway,” Hauch said. “When that pole just kicked my butt, he’s like ‘Give it another shot.’ I don’t really want to and he’ll push me to. Sometimes it doesn’t work out but a lot of times it ends up being a positive at the end of the day.”
Hauch also got into the weight room, improving his power and speed.
“At first I didn’t know how to control the strength that I had gotten over the year,” he said. “Then it all started to come together.”
Hauch PR’d for the first time in more than a year at the BSN Sports Rumble in the Jungle. The 16-1 was a new county record.
Then came the region meet at a place where Hauch has done historically well.
“But he was sick as a dog,” Henson said.
Henson told Hauch to clear a state sectional qualifying height and go home.
“He won it on his first vault,” Henson said. “And then ended up breaking the county record.”
Hauch went 16-5, bettering his own Gwinnett-best mark.
“I’ve had good history at Brookwood’s track,” he said. “Every time I’ve competed there, I’ve PR’d actually. The first time at 9-6, then 14-4 the following year and 16-5 this year.
“I just felt like, I don’t know, maybe there’s something special about the track. I didn’t want to waste it, even if there’s a little bit of luck there, and it came together. I was sick, but I felt relaxed on the runway.”
The state meet wasn’t an easy deal either, but for other reasons. Hauch waited through two hours of other vaulters clearing lower heights before he joined the rotation. In retrospect, he didn’t wait long enough.
“I came in at a height probably too low, at 14 feet,” Hauch said. “Cleared it on my first, but I was on a smaller pole, not the pole I had PR’d on both times. I was on the smaller pole and it’s usually the pole I start on, but at this point in my season, I was ready for bigger things.
“I passed on 14-6 because I had been thinking, all day, it was going to mess me up. Because in my mind, I knew that pole was too soft. I knew if I went at 14-6, I’d probably have a miss.”
Missed attempts are the tie-breaker when athletes clear the same height.
“So I skipped to 15 feet and I changed my pole,” Hauch said. “I ended up missing the first attempt at 15 feet on the bigger pole. I got it on the second attempt and then got 15-6 on the first attempt.”
The bar went to 16 feet. Hauch had one miss. Milton’s Matt Mazzacano had none.
Hauch missed his first two attempts at 16 feet. Mazzacano missed all three.
The former gymnast had one more chance.
“If I make the bar, I win the meet,” Hauch said. “If I miss the bar, I get second for a third year in a row.”
He made the bar.
“All of a sudden something clicked and I went over 16-3 and 16-6 ½ on my first attempts,” Hauch said.
Hauch won his first state championship with a Class AAAAAAA state record height of 16-6 1/2, also the sixth-best all-time mark in Georgia history.
He came very close on his three attempts at 16-9 3/4 before bowing out. The all-time Georgia high school record is 17-2. Hauch knows he’s on the verge.
“I can see over 17 feet happening during my freshman college season,” he said.
He’s living up to his potential and Georgia Tech has already rewarded him for his gains this season.
“I took some visits around the country,” Hauch said. “I had a lot of interest.”
The Yellow Jackets, along with Kennesaw State and Air Force, were serious in their offers.
“Georgia Tech ended up being a good fit for me,” Hauch said. “It felt right.”
They also told him if he reached certain goals this season, he would be eligible for more funding.
“I’ve already redeemed some of that with my season so far,” Hauch said. “I had six inches of PR this year and to them, that’s worth a lot. They’re going to be raising my scholarship accordingly.
“That just shows me I’m going to be in a good place at Tech.”
He’ll also have someone to push him in practice, since Munoz won’t be a short drive away anymore.
“I’m just excited to start training with somebody who is at my level,” Hauch said. “This season, it’s just been me, whatever pressures I put on myself and then whatever motivation Coach Munoz can give me. It’s worked, but I want more friendly competition inside of the Georgia Tech team, within the pole vault group. It’s going to push me and him over 17 feet, for sure.”