Max Zuckerman breaks county pole vaulting record

Zuckerman, a junior at Hills, is not getting complacent, as he already has his next goal in mind. 

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Graphic by Stephen Schmidt

“My next goal is 16 feet. I’m going to try to get this at my meet tomorrow,” Zuckerman said. 

On Friday, May 21, Hills junior Max Zuckerman passed former teammate Liam Landau for the Bergen County all-time pole vaulting record. Zuckerman reached a height of 15 feet and 8 inches. He was extremely prepared and focused going into this record-breaking jump.

I made it over and had no thought in my mind for a couple of seconds. I just thought, what just happened? Then, it finally hit me.”

— Max Zuckerman, Hills pole vaulter

“For the entire jump, I was focused, I had no awareness of my surroundings, my mind was blank.  I made it over and had no thought in my mind for a couple of seconds. I just thought, what just happened? Then, it finally hit me,” Zuckerman said. 

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Zuckerman’s hard work and dedication allowed him to get where he is now. He is not getting complacent, as he already has his next goal in mind. 

“My next goal is 16 feet. I’m going to try to get this at my meet tomorrow,” Zuckerman said. 

Zuckerman is very open about the people who helped him along the way. Among those people is his coach, Ross Koehler. 

“Coach Koehler definitely has helped me get to where I need to be. His constant positive feedback and encouragement has been very helpful. Just dealing with me in general was helpful,” Zuckerman said. 

Coach Koehler is one of the many people proud of Zuckerman’s accomplishments. He has watched Zuckerman progress greatly since his freshman year. He knew Zuckerman was going to be good, but he admitted that he didn’t know he was going to get to this level so quickly. 

We knew he was going to be good, just not this good this fast.”

— Ross Koehler, Zuckerman's coach

“Liam Landau came up to me and said ‘Max is going to be better than me.’ I didn’t quite believe him at the time, but we knew he was going to be good, just not this good this fast,” Koehler explained. 

Koehler added that the 15’8 record has been one of Zuckerman’s big goals for this year, so “it was great for him to check that box and get ready for the state tournament.”

The jump was one that you had to be there to see. It was definitely a special moment for Zuckerman and the whole track team. 

“I was there filming his jump –– like most of his big attempts. It was incredible, exciting, and a relief,” said Koehler. “As soon as he took off, you knew he had it.”