A Place Where A Pole Vaulter Can Have a Dream and The Tools in Order to Realize It.... | RISE Pole Vault Our Story

RISE Pole Vault’s inception was sparked by Jake Winder’s vision: a haven for the pole-vaulting community of Chicagoland, where dreams could turn into reality. This home would be a space where pole vaulters, backed by elite coaching, quality equipment, and a premium facility, could transcend their imaginations’ limits.

This venture, however, didn’t just spring up overnight. Its roots trace back to Jake’s father Tim Winder’s story. Despite Woodlawn High lacking a track team, Tim’s burgeoning passion for pole vaulting remained undeterred. Unaided, he immersed himself in knowledge and intense backyard practice. This dedication bore fruit in 1979, when he not only clinched the Illinois State Championship but also set a state record. This marked the true genesis of RISE Pole Vault.

Want to hear more about this story?  Check out the One More Jump Podcast episode with Tim Winder.
RISE Pole Vault

Since Tim Winder’s introduction to pole vaulting in 1973, his family has carved an extraordinary legacy. Together, Tim and his sons Jake (owner/coach), Josh, and Luke (general manager/coach) form the world’s highest pole vaulting quartet in history. They collectively hold five Illinois State championships and 12 Division 3 National Championships. All three brothers have competed post-college at elite levels, with Luke, a 2022 world championship team member, still active and boasting a personal best of 5.80 meters (19′ 1/4″).

The Winder family’s experience has significantly benefitted Chicagoland’s community for decades. Tim’s impactful coaching career, starting at Naperville Central and extending to North Central College, along with numerous camps and clinics since 1987, shaped a highly effective pole vaulting teaching system.

In 2019, the Winders decided to extend their extensive knowledge and a purpose-built training facility to any aspiring pole vaulter. Consequently, RISE Pole Vault came into existence.

Jake Winder

Jake Winder, the founder and owner of RISE Pole Vault, was a 2 time National Champion and 5 time All-American at North Central College. He then went on to place 2nd at the USA Championships in 2013 with a PR 5.55m (18’3″). Jake has spent his entire life around the pole vault and has made it his mission to spread that knowledge on a scale that has never been done before through RISE Pole Vault. Jake is also the founder and host of the One More Jump Podcast, where he interviews the top pole vaulters and coaches of all time, aiding in his mission to spread quality information to vaulters across the world.

Luke Winder

Luke Winder, a 7x NCAA national champion, 8x All-American, 2x State Champion, and 2022 world championship team member, grew up surrounded by excellence in the vault. As the 4th pole vault state champion in his family, Luke has learned and been through every aspect of the RISE training philosophy from its start. Now an elite vaulter with a PR of 5.80 (19′) Luke coaches and trains at RISE alongside his training partner, Trevor. Luke is also the the Operations manager at RISE and has played an integral part in the development of RISE since 2020.

Coach John Wood

John Wood, a six-time All-American and North Central College alumni, became part of the RISE Pole Vault coaching team in Fall 2021. A former student of Tim Winder, the godfather of the RISE System, John achieved a personal best of 17’7″. With his childhood steeped in the RISE System and experience teaching at his parents’ Palatine martial arts studio, John combines deep familiarity with the method and excellent instructional skills. As RISE’s Content Director, he’s also instrumental in building its rapidly expanding online presence.

Coach Kolby Lewis

Kolby Lewis honed his skills under the guidance of legendary pole vault coach, Dean Starkey, for 6 years before coming to RISE. As a 16 ft pole vaulter, Kolby continues to train and pole vault at RISE, while joining us as another top tier coach. Additionally, Kolby spearheads the HP+ training program, driven by his passion for maximizing athlete potential through meticulous attention to technique, strength training, and sprinting. Pole vaulting is Kolby’s life passion, and you can feel it every time he works with an athlete.

Coach Mike Karl

Since joining RISE’s coaching staff in 2020, Coach Mike Karl has consistently unlocked athletes’ potential. With over 12 years as the pole vaulting coach at Providence Catholic High School, he’s guided many state qualifiers and high-performing athletes, leading several boys past the 16-foot mark and girls over 13 feet. We’re fortunate to benefit from Mike’s vast expertise in pole vaulting.

Sam Spencer

Sam Spencer, a 2x Illinois State Champion, competed at the University of Minnesota and the University of Memphis with a PR of 13’6″. Sam moved back to Illinois a year ago, and continues to train at RISE where she coaches our PV fundamentals class! Pole Vaulting has always been a huge part of her life, and she is excited by sharing that same passion with beginners!

Sam Spencer
Kelly Jacoby

Kelly Jacoby competed at both Marquette and Grand Canyon University with a PR of 12’4″. Kelly is currently in her 3rd year of medical school at the Medical College of Wisconsin, with plans of becoming an orthopedic surgeon for athletes AND she coaches our PV Fundamentals class AND still trains herself! Kelly is full of energy and incredibly passionate about giving back to the pole vault community at RISE.

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