SEARCY, Ark. — Dorian Chaigneau has only been in the United State for less than a year, but he’s already making his mark.
The sophomore Harding University pole vaulter broke a 32-year-old school record at the Arkansas Invitational on Saturday, January 16. The original record was 16 feet 6 inches, but Chaigneau jumped 16 feet 8.75 inches shattering the record by nearly three inches.
“Nobody in 32 years could do it,” Harding University head track and field coach Don Hood said while laughing. “It is a big deal and we’re excited about him being here.”
“I have seen the record on the track room before,” Chaigneau said. “But, I don’t think about that because before the jump.”
Dorian is from Fontenay-le-Comte, France and came to America so he can work on academics and athletics at the same time. His performance in Fayetteville made him the current No. 1 pole vaulter in NCAA division II.
“It’s fun haha,” Chaigneau said. “It’s the beginning, I hope I can jump more.”
His personal best jump is 17 feet 2 inches (5.23 meters) back in 2019 and he believes he can get to 5.40 meters (17 feet 7 inches) by the end of the season.
“This winter I think I can jump 5.40 meters if I’m good,” Chaigneau said.
“I think he has a chance to be an 18+ foot jumper,” Hood said. “Right now he’s the best. So there may be eight to 10 guys in division two that will jump what he’s jumped this year. It’s a pretty rare find.”
Harding University has never had a pole vaulter that’s jumped over 17 feet or won a national championship before. With the pace Dorian is on, he could be the first.