Francom breaks personal, school record at Summit League championships


Sydney Smith, Sports Reporter (She/her)

It took a sibling rivalry and some guts for senior track athlete Trent Francom to try pole vaulting in high school.

“My older brother did it in high school, and I literally just thought I could do it better than him when I got older,” Francom said.

That determination and drive led to Francom becoming one of the best pole vaulters to come out of Huron High School, as he holds the school’s pole vault record. In addition, he was also a three-time place winner at state, earned an all-America honorable mention and received the South Dakota High School Coaches’ Association Outstanding Male Athlete of the Year in 2017.

This high school success helped turn him toward the bigger goal of being a college athlete. He eventually found a home at South Dakota State University.

“As a school, I really like SDSU,” Francom said. “It was a very homey vibe and the fact that it was Division 1 was big for me. That, and the coaches. So all together I thought it would be the best college experience.”

Francom’s career has developed into one of the best for pole vaulters in SDSU history, according to the GoJacks website.

He kicked off his freshman indoor season with the 10th-best mark in school history at the SDSU Holiday Open and ended the year in similar fashion. Francom tied his older brother, Reagan, for the school record at the Summit League Championship with a finish of 16 feet, 6.75 inches.

Francom did it again at the outdoor Summit League Championships his freshman year by again breaking a school record for outdoor pole vault, becoming the first Jack to finish over 17 feet. A month later, he became the first male from SDSU to qualify for the NCAA West Prelims and finished 28th.

Qualifying to compete for a spot at the national meet was the most special event of his career, Francom said.

“It was definitely one of my biggest accomplishments,” he said.

His sophomore season brought just as much success, as he competed at the Summit League indoor and outdoor champion-ships. But the outdoor competition brought the most excitement.

Francom broke his own personal and school record with a finish of 17 feet, 5.5 inches, earning him a third-place finish and a return ticket to the NCAA West Prelims, where he took home a 14th-place finish.

Breaking the school record and returning to the West Prelims was another one of Francom’s self-declared biggest accomplishments.

         “It was an amazing experience and opportunity to be able to go back to try and qualify for the national meet on top of breaking the school record,” he said.

         The following junior indoor season was highlighted by many top-three finishes, including a third-place finish at the Summit League Indoor Championships.

         But then it all came to a screeching halt.

         The COVID-19 pandemic derailed any momentum going into the outdoor season, as that entire season was canceled.

“That was really disappointing,” Francom said. “When I heard about it, I was actually driving back from Wyoming, so I didn’t have any cell signal. So, as soon as it reconnected, I had a bunch of missed texts and calls and it was really interesting to find out that the season we had all worked so hard for was taken away from us.”

Francom has started this season off hot, breaking his career and SDSU’s pole vault record with a jump of 17 feet, 8.5 inches, but he is also just looking forward to being back and reaching his goals throughout the rest of the season.

“I’ve always wanted to be an All-American, so I’m hoping that this year I’ll be able to pull that off and go to Nationals,” Francom said. “Other than that, I just hope to compete. I’m really looking forward to just being able to compete again.”