Monroe City pole vaulters Parker and Lila Yager don't always like to show it or admit it, but the district champion siblings are each other's biggest fans.
They don’t always like to show it or admit it, but Parker and Lila Yager are each other’s biggest fans.
Like most brothers and sisters, the two Monroe City pole vaulters have their fair share of spats.
But at the end of the day they both know they can count on each other in their corner.
“It actually means a lot to me to see her succeed,” Parker said of his younger sister. “I want to see her get over her heights and I do not want to see her do bad. It means a lot to me.”
With Parker being one of the top vaulters in not only the area but also the state, cheering for her senior brother comes natural for Lila.
“Every meet I get to look up and say, ‘That’s my brother,'” the sophomore said. “It’s bragging rights that my brother is that good.”
Last season the two were able to share a special moment as both qualified for the Class 2 state championships.
Lila placed seventh in the girls meet, while Parker finished as the runner-up on the boys side.
The meet also gave Lila something to brag about in her own right.
“He didn’t place his freshman year and I was able to get seventh,” she said with a laugh.
The two also were able to laugh about one particular moment during the state meet last season.
“He just left me,” Lila said. “I was there all alone.”
Parker quickly explained what happened.
“I got asked to leave,” he said. “I was in the coaches box (trying to help her) and since I was not a coach, they made me leave.”
Last weekend both vaulters were crowned district champions.
Both siblings have it as their goal to make it back to the state meet this season and end up on the podium.
“I want to get back and win it this year,” Parker said. “I am hoping to hit 15 (feet), but really I just want to go out and do the best I can.”
Said Lila, “My goal is to reach 9-0 or 9-6 by state, and I am at 8-6 right now. I know I just have to keep pushing and don’t give up. I have had feelings of giving up sometimes, but I know I am that close to my goal so it just wouldn’t make sense to give up now.”
Cara Grinde, who has been a volunteer coach for the Panthers the past few years, is an assistant this season and expects to be at the state meet with her vaulters this year.
Both Parker and Lila mentioned the former Hannibal-LaGrange University vaulter has helped them tremendously.
“She’s been where I am at some point,” Lila said of Grinde. “She knows how to help me. She knows what I need to work on. With being a girl, she knows what I can do to help make up the difference for not having the upper body strength like Parker and the guys have.”
Parker mentioned Grinde's overall experience is most helpful to him.
“She is pretty good,” he pointed out. “With her experience of vaulting in high school and also in college, there is a lot she can help me with.”
Grinde held the Monroe City girls record in the event, but her record has since been broken.
Grinde mentioned she is happy with where Parker and Lila are in their vaults.
“When I first saw them, I could tell they both had a lot of potential,” the assistant coach said. “But they both have far exceeded my expectations. I am happy and proud to see where they are now and just how far they both can still go.”
The siblings got into the event for different reasons.
“I started just because I thought it would be such a thrill of flinging up high in the air and falling back down,” Parker stated. “It’s the greatest feeling ever, it feels like you are actually flying.”
Lila admitted she was forced into the event because of Parker.
“My mom made me do it in seventh grade because of Parker,” she said. “But then I ended up pretty decent at it.”
Earlier this year, Parker signed to continue his academic and vaulting career at Central Methodist University.
Lila admits pole vaulting in college is not something she wanted to do three years ago.
“At first I didn’t think I would want to go to college for it,” Lila said. “But now I just want to keep going.”
Both admit the long-standing tradition Monroe City has in the event is tough to live up to.
“I think it’s a lot of pressure just knowing the girls who are older than me like Cara, Kelby Painter and Hannah Harrison, they all were just so good,” Lila said.
Parker has had to follow in the footsteps of three-time state champion Chase Pennewell.
“Chase was like a big brother to me,” Parker stated. “But the biggest thing for me is I don’t want to let anyone down who comes and watches us. It means a lot to me to try and carry on the great tradition we have here at Monroe City.”
Parker and Lila both will be competing in Saturday’s Class 2 sectional meet at Hillsboro High School.