AUSTIN—He was successful on the most important vault of his life—and it ended his career in a most unsuccessful manner.
Cody Miller, the Llano High senior, was at Mike Myers Stadium, next door to The House that Royal Built. He was in the Class 4A state championships, the highest rung on the high school Track & Field ladder.
The bar was set at 13 feet, six inches, for the best nine vaulters in 4A in Texas. Cody missed on his first two chances. He had one card left in his hand. He had to clear the height, or his marvelous journey to the UT campus, May 13, would be over after a 10 minute stay.
Down the runway he flew—six years of training for this moment. It could have been in Blanco or San Saba; Wimberley or Bandera. He reached the standards and the bar and planted his pole. Liftoff. Cody was soon airborne. With his parents and coaches and teammates watching and holding a collective breath, he soared above the bar. There was still unbearable tension. His body could come in contact with the bar; maybe the pole would turn villainous. At this instant, anything is possible.
And “anything” is what occurred. Victory and defeat combined for a double-play dagger. He landed on the mat, and the untouched bar, with no reaction, looked down upon him. 13-6 had been cleared, but Fate declared that the one card Miller held was a joker. Success was temporary relief.
Because...in the process, Cody had injured his left shoulder. What this meant for the challenge of 14 feet was “{I} couldn’t plant.”
“You use your shoulders and body to elevate,” pole vault coach, Lance Cain, said. “If you don’t have that strength {and can’t} use your upper body, you can’t pole vault.”
Three perfunctory attempts at 14 were made in truly gallant fashion, but Cody was like a catcher with no glove, a skier with one ski, a golfer with just the mid-irons in his bag. Worse than a nightmare, this was non-fiction.
Head track coach Craig Slaughter, reflecting on his thoughts before anyone knew Miller was hurt, insisted, “I thought his third jump {at 13-6} would smooth it all out. You’ll see him like always:
{he} competes and grinds.
“Didn’t get a chance for that to happen—at the highest level. I wish it had gone differently,” than a seventh place finish in a record book that mixes its smiles and frowns with no prejudice.
“He wanted to try, no matter what,” Cain said of Miller’s last three vaults. “He gave it all he had.”
Slaughter reported on how the day had begun on the Llano High campus. It was a marvelous send-off by his classmates and teachers. “All for one person, what an awesome deal.”
For now, Cody suffered through a bad deal, but the coach added: “One day he’ll look back on it and realize an unbelievable accomplishment — a tribute to him to make it to Austin.”

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