Jefferson’s Mason Hamrick will continue his standout pole vaulting career at the major college level, signing with Georgia Tech last Tuesday.
He will hold a formal signing ceremony at a later date.
The two-time state champion pointed to the rapport he has built over the years with Tech pole vaulter Nikita Kirillov and his father Viktor Kirillov — the Yellow Jackets’ pole vault coach — as a major factor in his interest in the Yellow Jackets.
“I’ve been watching Nikita jump and Viktor coach since the first day I started vaulting,” Hamrick said, adding that Viktor Kirillov “knows more about pole vaulting than anybody I ever met.”
That relationship with the Kirillovs led him to attend several Georgia Tech camps, which piqued his interest in the school and its renowned engineering program.
“That’s really what I want to do and that’s where I want to be when I graduate college,” Hamrick said.
While Hamrick praised Georgia Tech’s facilities and coaching staff, he pointed to the education as ultimately the deciding factor in signing with the Yellow Jackets.
“I’m going to come out of there with a good education,” Hamrick said. “That’s really the most important thing.”
Hamrick received interest from a number of schools including Troy State, Kennesaw State, Clemson, Arkansas and Appalachian State. Hamrick noted that he wasn’t able to talk to the coaches from the University of Georgia as much as he would have liked to, but doesn’t think that would have swayed his decision.
Hamrick, who set a personal-best vault of 15-2 at the Georgia Games in the summer of 2013, wants to be vaulting over 16 feet by the time he arrives at Georgia Tech. The Yellow Jackets’ top pole vaulter, Kirillov, is vaulting around 18 feet, while the other, Nathan Daniel, recently vaulted 16-3.
“Hopefully, by the end of the year and by the end of the summer, by the time I go up there and start practicing with them, I’ll be jumping higher than 16-3,” Hamrick said. “Hopefully I can get some time in during the meets. It all depends on how high you’re jumping and what meets you go to.”
Hamrick added that he likes to set high but not unreachable goals, so by the end of his freshman year he wants to be vaulting 17 feet. By his senior year, he wants to have competed in the NCAA championships in Eugene, Ore.
“That’s everybody’s dream who goes to college for track,” Hamrick said.