Photo courtesy of Grand Valley State University
Greenville High School alumnus Kevin Leland earned all-America honors at the 2013 NCAA Division II indoor track and field championship meet as he finished sixth in the pole vault.
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Greenville High School alumnus Kevin Leland earned all-America honors at the 2013 NCAA Division II indoor track and field championship meet.
Leland, a senior at Grand Valley State University in Michigan, cleared 5 meters in the pole vault to finish sixth in the nation. He was just 2 inches below his personal best, which he was hoping to match at the national meet, but said he couldn’t be mad as he earned all-America honors his first time at the national meet.
“I had a pretty good day,” Leland said. “I can’t be mad about being an all-American my first year.”
Leland previously had a personal-best vault of 17 feet at his conference meet. He entered the national meet ranked sixth in the nation and finished exactly where he was projected to.
Competing at nationals was pretty nerve-racking, Leland said, and he missed his first two jumps at the opening height. On his third vault, he knew he had to clear the bar, which also would make him an all-American, and he did.
“It was a huge relief,” Leland said. “From that point on, I was more relaxed.”
Two of Leland’s college teammates, senior Raphael Gelo and junior Bret Myers, also cleared 5 meters at the national meet. Because of missed jump tiebreakers, they finished fourth and fifth, just ahead of Leland. Grand Valley State ended up finishing fourth at the national meet, which is the best in Leland’s career.
A lot of teammates, friends and family made the trip to Alabama to watch Leland compete, he said.
“There was just a huge atmosphere all around the track,” Leland said.
Leland, who battled through injuries his first two years at Grand Valley State, still has the outdoor season to go this year. His goal is to get 17 feet and finish even better at the outdoor national meet.
“That’s kind of my bar I’m really after,” he said.