Eric Frawley is proud of his brother, Vince, but not for the obvious reason.
In terms of sibling rivalry, there might not be a better example than the Frawley last name. For the better part of a decade, Eric, Vince and older brother Nick have all been hot names in the pole vaulting community. Eric and Vince made the most recent headlines when the duo competed in the National Junior College Athletic Association outdoor national track and field championships. Vince won the men’s pole vaulting title with a vault of 15 feet, 11 inches. Eric tied for second with a jump of 15 feet, 7 inches.
That would normally call for some good natured rubbing from the victor. Not this time.
“Usually he does but this meet was the first meet of the year that I could say I jumped better than him but he beat me. He kind of shut his mouth and said, ‘Yea, you probably should have won that one.’ Oh well,” Eric says with a laugh.
The Midlothian products both started their collegiate careers at South Alabama before moving over to Paradise Valley Community College in Phoenix, Az. (Nick competed at the Air Force Academy.)
During the indoor season, Vince won the national title with a vault of 16 feet, 4 ¾ inches, beating his Paradise Valley teammate Matt Vipond by a full 4 ¾ inches.
That set the stage for the outdoor season when the brothers would be competing against each other. And a very talented group of vaulters at their own school.
“We had five people who were going over 16-feet which has never happened at one school before. Basically every day, every practice was the national championship. That was like the motto going in,” Eric said. “We had to practice well every single day because somebody out of that group was going to nationals. Although we had eight people qualify for nationals we could only take three even though in the national rankings we had 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 on our squad.”
“It’s definitely really tough but at the same time it just makes you that much better. You’re jumping against one of the best vault groups anywhere really, in JUCO especially but nationwide too,” Vince added.
While the brothers have been pushing each other in athletic competition since they were children, they were now surrounded by scores of other athletes who were doing the same. The increased level of competition ended up make both Frawley’s better.
After winning the indoor title, Vince was charged with being a team leader, a task that was not easy especially when every athlete on the vaulting squad could contend for a top spot at a meet.
Instead of being an outspoken guy trying to corral everyone, Vince kept his style of leading simple – he would push them to do better and they would push him to do the same.
Vince and Eric took the top spots while Vipond placed sixth in the outdoor event. Only Cowley Junior College had had multiple vaulters finish inside the top 10 with seventh and tenth place finishes.
The duo will once again be competing against each other in college as both vaulters, along with Vipond, plan to transfer to Arizona State next season to continue their careers.
Just like before, the sibling rivalry will be back. Nick says it doesn’t just happen on the track but in everything, even a simple game of catch with the family in the backyard. And that’s not a bad thing.
“It’s been good really,” Vince said of the battle. “Especially when it comes to vaulting.”
Contact Alex at email@example.com or at 469-517-1456.