Davis Alums Green & Frank Aim High
SportsTrack & Field

Davis Alums Green & Frank Aim High

The pair of pole vaulters credit their time at Davis Academy for their continued success in track & field.

After an incredible showing at New Balance Nationals earlier this spring, Harrison Green and Jordan Frank are aiming to set more PRs before pursuing their collegiate track & field careers. Their former coach, Matthew Barry, is pictured in the center // Photo Credit: Matthew Barry
After an incredible showing at New Balance Nationals earlier this spring, Harrison Green and Jordan Frank are aiming to set more PRs before pursuing their collegiate track & field careers. Their former coach, Matthew Barry, is pictured in the center // Photo Credit: Matthew Barry

The Davis Academy has become quite the pole vault factory. Merely two years after Davis alum Alon Rogow captured the 2022 GHSA 7A pole vault state title as a senior, not one, but two former Davis students, Harrison Green and Jordan Frank, are gunning for Rogow’s high-water mark of 16’7.5” in their final season of high school outdoor track & field this spring.

Green and Frank, both of whom consider Rogow a close friend and role model, came into their own as pole vaulters under the direction of Davis Academy social studies teacher and track & field coach Matthew Barry.

Green, a senior at Norcross High who’s headed to Duke next year, where he will indeed be pole vaulting while on a pre-law track, was introduced to the sport when he was a seventh grader at Davis. In spring 2019, most of his then middle school buddies were obsessed with baseball – this was when the Atlanta Braves’ renaissance was underway — so it took a bit of nudging from Barry to trade in an aluminum bat for a fiberglass pole. (Green actually first tried high jump, a sport in which his dad had excelled but realized pretty soon that it didn’t play to his strengths.) A half-decade later and Green currently ranks sixth in the state in outdoor pole vault, which comes on the heels of his third-place ranking for indoor competition that he attained this past winter for the club team, Pole Vault Atlanta, which competes basically year-round against the country’s finest high school track & field athletes.

“As I practiced more, I kind of fell in love with it,” Green recalled about his nascent days of pole vaulting, which unfortunately coincided with the onset of the pandemic.

A year ago, Green was clearing 13 feet – an impressive feat, but not one that would necessarily pique the interest of Division I coaches. Eventually, Green, also a state qualifier in swimming and diving and former basketball player for Norcross, would make a quantum leap to posting his current PR of 15’4.5”. Then he was able to fire off an attention-grabbing email subject line to coaches, such as Duke’s.

“My recruitment process was a little crazy because I was sort of a late bloomer,” noted Green, who, similar to Rogow a couple years ago, has assumed a mentorship role for his high school teammates. “But last summer everything just started clicking and each meet brought higher bars.”

The bar is just as high for his good friend Frank, a senior at North Springs who was also shepherded along in his pole vault journey by Barry. Frank, who has similar designs on competing at the D-I level (and ultimately the Olympics one day) but hasn’t yet committed to a program, set a new personal record of 16’3”, good for seventh in the entire country, at the prestigious New Balance Nationals in Boston back in early March.

While inching closer to Rogow’s record, Frank, whose grandfather himself was a competitive pole vaulter, noted, “I’m just happy that my last year I’m jumping well and keeping a good mentality. I think pole vaulting is definitely a mental sport. For some people, it’s hard to keep your emotions in one place. Being mindful that one meet doesn’t make your whole season. Even two or three meets don’t make your whole season. You can’t really jump mad. It won’t work. You just won’t be able to think properly when you’re jumping. This year I’ve been very focused on being in the moment and focused on what I’m doing.”

In the midst of his seventh year of pole vaulting (he started in sixth grade at Davis), Frank feels that he is not only in a better place mentally, but he’s also in tip-top physical shape after committing himself to the weight room like never before and regular gymnastic-style workouts to bolster his core strength. But, as Frank is quick to mention, success in pole vaulting doesn’t just mean having a chiseled physique. It’s having lightning-quick footwork and positioning yourself in the sweet spot just in front of the pole so that when it recoils, you are propelled with maximum force into the atmosphere. A technique that, apparently, Frank has mastered as he’s consistently soaring over 16 feet these days, racking up new personal records, and subsequently sees himself competing for an ACC or SEC school in the months ahead and potentially partaking in the Olympic trials four years from now.

“Pole vaulting has definitely been a big part of my life for the past seven years,” acknowledged Frank. “I will definitely continue it for as long as I can.”

Even though both Green and Frank have long since graduated from Davis, they keep in touch regularly with Barry, who continues to be heavily invested in their budding careers. Just as he has been for Rogow, who’s closing in on hitting 17 feet as a sophomore for the University of Georgia.

“It’s been really nice to have someone who’s helped me pole vaulting-wise, but he’s also been a counselor to me,” added Frank, who looks forward to majoring in mechanical engineering in college. “He has provided me with insight into the mental side of jumping as well. He definitely helped me get out of my head when I’m not in the right headspace jumping-wise. It’s definitely been a great experience to have someone who has been as involved as he has.”

In many ways a niche sport, pole vaulting engenders a tight bond among its practitioners. And while Green, Frank, and Rogow remain close to this day, the latter’s proteges stay laser-focused on one-upping their former teammate, who is one of the SEC’s elite pole vaulters, during an end-of-season meet at Regionals, Sectionals, or States.

“To be honest, that [surpassing Rogow’s mark] has been something that I’ve been dreaming about since he first set it,” said Green. “I think only time will tell. I don’t like comparing myself to Alon because he was the greatest pole vaulter that our club had ever seen. It’s not really something that would break my heart if it didn’t happen.”

What if his former Davis classmate and pole-vaulting brother is the one to do it?

“Even if Jordan breaks it, I’ll be just as happy because that’s my teammate.”

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