Kumar strikes a pose by his UIL gold medal scoreboard.Credit: Jimmie Aggison

Katy Tompkins senior pole vaulter Matthew Kumar, a Rice University commit, didn’t go to state in 2021. So he became a man on a mission this season, which was capped off with a gold medal 16-03.00 performance at this year’s event.

Tompkins pole vault coach Matthew Rhodes reflected on Kumar’s journey since last season.

“He has kept that as motivation all year long,” Rhodes said. “Every meet since he has [tried to surpass his personal record] levels. So, he kept getting PR after PR after PR and then he hits the school record.  And the next week he gets the district record.”

The Defender spoke with Kumar at the UIL state track meet to discuss his style, early start, commitment to Rice and more.

Matthew Kumar Profile PicCredit: Jimmie Aggison

Early start

“I picked it up in middle school.  It looked fun and it is fun. So, I just started and have been doing it ever since.”

Style of pole vaulting

“It is a big mental event and I try to keep my calm and go back to whatever I have been practicing.”

Gold medal performance

“Stay calm, jump my jump, and don’t worry about the big dogs I am competing against.”

Advice to others

“I would tell them just give it a try because usually when they give it a try they end up liking it.  And once they like it they are more willing to grind for it.”

Rice commitment

“They have a really good coach, David Butler.  He is just about all you can ask for in pole vault coach.  So, I am very excited to be working with him for the next four years.”