Padalecki signs with Texas Tech
East Central seniors (from left) Braedon Robinson, Nick Coleman, and Kyle Padalecki celebrate after signing their national letters of intent Feb. 1. Robinson will play football for Texas A&M University-Kingsville, Coleman will play football at the U.S. Air Force Academy, and Padalecki will compete in the pole vault for Texas Tech University.
Years ago, East Central’s Kyle Padalecki decided he was going to become a champion pole vaulter. Kyle has already reached that goal by winning the district title during all three of his high school track seasons, and even qualified for the state meet last year. Now, with his senior season still to come, Kyle will work hard to close out his high school career as a champion, and will then move on to Texas Tech University. Kyle signed his letter of intent Feb. 1 to attend school and vault for the Red Raiders.
For Kyle, the decision to attend Tech didn’t come easily. He was recruited by a number of schools, including Duke and Texas A&M University. After visits to A&M and Tech, however, Kyle knew the best place for him was in Lubbock.
“I had a really good visit with the coaches and the athletes,” Kyle said. “They have a team of elite pole vaulters, and I really felt that is where I needed to be.”
Kyle said he still has a lot to accomplish, and agreed that his vaulting dreams are far from over. Competing at the collegiate level is great, but Kyle doesn’t just want to compete, he wants to win. He said one of his goals is to become the national pole vaulting champion, and from there, he has set his sights on a 2016 Olympic appearance. He knows it will be a lot of work, and said he believes it will take a jump of 19 feet to make it happen, but still, he believes in his heart that he can do it.
Kyle admitted that he would miss his family, friends, and coaches when he makes the move to Texas Tech, but is also excited about the chance to meet new people.
“I have a very tight-knit circle of people I have hung around most of my life,” he said. “None of them are going to Tech, so it will be a new experience for me. I am excited, though.”
A gifted athlete like Kyle has had many memorable occasions over the years at East Central. When asked what will always be with him the most, Kyle’s answer wasn’t about pole vaulting, but rather about playing football.
Kyle recalled the feeling he had when he played in his first football game of his senior year. After all, before that game, there was a time when he and others believed he would never step back onto a football field. During spring football of his sophomore year, Kyle tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and meniscus. The injury required surgery, and caused him to miss his entire junior season of football. Kyle spent the year working hard to rehabilitate himself, though, and eventually returned to the gridiron, where he helped the Hornets to a district title.
The injury was a blessing for Kyle, in a way. The experience not only allowed him to focus on his physical conditioning, but also pointed him down a career path in life. Working with athletes and sports injuries is a big interest of his now, and has even prompted him to major in biomedical engineering with plans of becoming an orthopedic surgeon.
Kyle isn’t off to Lubbock just yet, though, and he still has his senior track season in front of him. He wants to win a state title, and is also looking to break the greater San Antonio area record. He feels he can jump 17 feet this year, and everyone is anxious to see him do it.