Pole vaulters Kyle and Brian Duggan have taken the matter of sibling rivalry to new heights.
Fresh off a first-place finish in the New England Championships held this past weekend at UMass, UConn sophomore Kyle Duggan is ready to take on all comers in the IC4A this weekend – including his older brother Brian, a senior at Rutgers.
The Duggan brothers have been competing in this high-flying event for some six years now, ever since they were on the same team at Msgr. Farrell High School on Staten Island.
Brian opted to attend Rutgers, right down the New Jersey Turnpike from the home where Gina and Joe Duggan have raised their five sons, the oldest of whom is now a New York City police officer.
They also have a third son in college right now, Nicholas, a swimmer who just finished his freshmen year at the University of Albany.
Although Nicholas opted out of the Big East, Kyle says he’s glad he followed Brian to a conference school.
When it came time for Kyle to choose a college, Rutgers was quickly ruled out because, as Brian jokingly says, “I told him not to come there.”
So, Kyle headed north to UConn’s Storrs campus for a visit and immediately knew this would be a good place to spend four years.
“UConn recruited me, and I liked it at Storrs, and I felt comfortable with the coaches,” Kyle said during an interview at the Big East Championships held at Villanova.
One can only hope these two brothers are as close off the field as they are soaring over the pole. In the Big East meet, Kyle finished third with 5.15m and Brian came in fourth with a 4.95m.
A tight-knit family
Mom says she loves to watch her boys in action.
“It’s exciting,” said Gina Duggan. “I think it’s great the way they help each other to do better.”
In fact, according to Brian, the boys are each other’s biggest fan.
“I’ve always helped Kyle out. We don’t compete like that,” said Brian, who opened the family vault, so to speak, as a high school freshman.
“I was on the cross-country team at the time, and we had this field day where I saw these upperclassmen pole vaulting, and I decided to learn how to do it,” said Brian. “The thing I like best about it is that you don’t have to run all that much.”
When he got to high school, Kyle decided to follow in his brother’s footsteps, literally taking the same path to the pole as his older brother.
With Brian’s help – and tapping into his own natural abilities – Kyle was soon soaring high over the pole, catching and passing his older brother.
“Brian has always been a big help to me and we still help each other out whenever we can,” said Kyle, for whom the sky’s the limit over the next two years.
UConn assistant coach Rich Miller calls Duggan “one of the best vaulters in the Northeast.”
“Kyle is a developing vaulter who’s starting to put it all together, and now I’m looking for him to go on and compete at the national level,” Miller said.
Duggan’s 4.80m performance in Amherst – coupled with first-place finishes by senior Ellis Gaulden in both the high jump and the long jump, and sophomore Kyle Edmonds in the 110m hurdles – helped the UConn men finish third overall at the New Englands.
Of course, Brian wasn’t competing at that meet. But he plans to be in Princeton this weekend, the final time he and Kyle get to compete in a college meet.
But that won’t be the last time Kyle has to worry about a brother vaulting past him at a college meet. Seems there’s another Duggan pole vaulter coming through the ranks, Cory, a junior at Msgr. Farrell.
“He hasn’t picked a college yet, but he says he’d like to stay in the Big East,” said Mrs. Duggan.
And you know he’ll be getting lots of help from his older brothers Brian and Kyle all along the way.
Posted May 15, 2009