Before he won a state title Jesse Pinkley knew where he was going to pole vault next.

Now he'll be going to the next level as a state champion in the event.

The standout and Class 3 pole vault champion will head to Central Methodist University in Fayette. One of his biggest influences to compete for CMU was its coach.

"They have a really young and really good vaulting coach called Nick Helman," Pinkley. "I think his PR [personal record] is somewhere in the 17-foot range. He's just really young, really just smart, knowledgeable, and you can tell that he really has a passion for pole vault."

Pinkley also considered Montrete in North Carolina for his next stop. He plans on majoring in entrepreneaual business.

"The coach at Montrete actually coached the coach from CMU, but it was just really the fact that I wanted my dad to come and watch me," he said. "Fayette is only three hours away, while Montreat is about eight."

Throughout his career Pinkley set the school record in pole vault multiple times. He made it to state in pole vault as a sophomore, but his shot at a state medal was derailed when he injured himself, and heavy storms that rolled in shortly after the incident forced his injury to set in. He was unable to complete the rest of his attempts.

As a junior he was unable to get out of districts in the event, but he redeemed those setbacks his senior year. His final record rests at 15 feet, 9 inches. He set that mark in the Class 3 state meet, which was good enough to win the title.

"I do a lot with coach Michael Reed," Pinkley said about his offseason training. "He coaches at Festus and then he coaches for the Jets [Track Club]. Every PR is because of him and his coaching because he pushed me through everything. He's more than a coach to me. He's a family member, he's a dad, he's a father. He really means so much to me. I can't explain it. He's just there for me and helps me out any way he can.He's just a phenomenal person."

Winning state wasn't Pinkley's main goal, but he will accept the honor along with his personal record.

"I was really happy with how things turned out," he said. "Everything kind of fit together right at the most opportune time because the pole I was on wasn't even the pole that I could get on yesterday, two days ago, or any time during the season except for this meet. Just the conditions all lined perfectly."

"Any time kids can continue what they're doing, especially something they love and get a good education, we're real proud of them,” said Ste. Genevieve head coach Kenneth Weik.