It’s been nothing but personal records and gold medals being earned this winter for Hillsborough High School pole vaulter Brian O’Sullivan.
The junior Hillsborough track and field star continued his winter track season on Feb. 12 at the Bennett Indoor Athletic Complex in Toms River during the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group IV Tournament.
O’Sullivan rewrote the record books in many ways when cleared the mark of 16-0.25 feet to place first in the event and become a sectional champion.
The mark not only helped O’Sullivan improve his school record in the pole vault but also led him to make history for the highest mark ever reached in the event during the NJSIAA Central Jersey, Group IV Tournament.
“It felt great,” O’Sullivan said of his meet record. “It shows that all the hard work I’ve put in paid off to be a sectional champion.”
O’Sullivan etched his name in the Hillsborough boys track and field record books last month at the Skyland Conference Championships when he set a school record with a mark of 15 feet and eight inches to place first in the tournament.
Before O’Sullivan set his meet record at the sectional tournament, he added to his school record with a jump of 15 feet and 10 inches.
After clearing that mark “pretty good,” O’Sullivan said he wanted to clear over 16 feet with one more jump to go and set a meet record.
His decision to go for history and set another milestone in his high school career paid off for O’Sullivan. He soared over the bar and landed in the pole vault pit with a smile on his face.
“I went for it and I made it,” O’Sullivan said. “It felt awesome. I’ve improved a lot this year.”
The first person to come over and congratulate O’Sullivan on his record mark was his brother, Kevin.
Kevin, a senior pole vaulter for Hillsborough, placed second at sectionals with his jump of 15 feet.
The two brothers have bonded over the sport of pole vaulting over the years. Both started becoming pole vaulters at the same time, when Kevin was in eighth grade and Brian was in seventh grade.
As they’ve grown as pole vaulters over the years, the two brothers have been each other’s support system every step of the way, which is something Brian feels has been a big advantage to them both having success in the sport.
“We help each other out,” he said. “We’re able to find what problems we each have and what we need to fix them. It’s a big advantage.”
Both brothers got into pole vaulting thanks to their father, Edward, who competed in the sport when he was in high school and college.
The sport of track and field itself is a family affair in the O’Sullivan household with sister, Lisa, competing as a distance runner for the Hillsborough girls track and field program.
Having now eclipsed the 16 feet mark, the next goal for O’Sullivan will be to reach 16 feet and two inches when he competes at the NJSIAA Group IV Tournament on Feb. 26.
The ultimate goal for O’Sullivan by the time he finishes his high school career next spring will be to clear a mark of 17 feet.
Bringing home a state title and a medal at the Meet of Champions are what O’Sullivan hopes to add to that growing list of accomplishments by the end of his stellar junior winter track campaign.
“I’m going to keep working hard and hopefully get it done,” he said.