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Pole vaulters raise the bar with excellent season

Junior Tim Rice practices his jumps. Photo by Maya Bussinger

With the end of track this year, pole vault athletes reflect on their high-reaching goals from this season, recounting their best accomplishments.

Junior Tim Rice expressed his pride for the team’s accomplishments this season.

“I think that we have all done super well this year because we have all gotten a lot better through these hard times and have improved as a team,” Rice said. 

Sophomore Liam Marchi agreed that the team had improved quite a bit this year.

“The team did amazing,” he said. “It was awesome to see everyone cheer each other on and come together.”

Sophomore Eli Funk spoke on the advancements the team has made this year despite the difficulties of COVID-19 and a limited season.

“Our pole vault team has progressed a lot this year,” said Funk. “Nearly the entire team are new pole vaulters who had little experience, including myself, and we have improved so much. Last year my personal record was 8’6″ and now I can clear 9′ fairly easily and consistently. This is the same for a lot of other vaulters, clearing higher and higher heights. For example, [Junior] Julia Pisenti cleared 9’6″ this season, beating the previous school record for girls pole vault by six inches.”

Junior Julia Pisenti conveyed the changes COVID-19 has made to the track season.

“While we got a decent amount of meets this year, COVID has taken away the opportunities to move forward past a small level, such as going to divisional and state meets,” she said. “I’m hoping that next year we will have the opportunity to not only compete as a full league, but also have the chance to qualify for those bigger meets.”

Rice explained his own personal performance in pole vault and hopes for even more improvement next year.

“My greatest achievement this year is getting my PR [personal record] to double digits,” he said. “My hope for next year is to at least tie the school record [14’6”].”

Junior Josh Kors, who has a personal record of eight and a half feet, expressed the team’s accomplishments but hopes for new arrivals next year.

“We had multiple PR’s at pretty much every meet, and broke some records too,” said Kors. “I hope we have a bigger turnout of track people next year.”

Funk described how pole vaulting works and what it takes mentally to trust the process. 

“To be a pole vaulter, it definitely takes courage and determination,” he said. “Swiftly running at a hole in the ground with a long pole to be flung into the air doesn’t seem like the safest thing. If you commit to the process, however, it isn’t very dangerous, especially with advances to the equipment of the sport. The sport used to use bamboo poles and the vaulter would land from several feet in the air into a pit of “fluffed” sawdust. It also takes patience and focus because improvement takes a lot of time and repetition.”

Freshman Elaine Owyoung added to Funk’s statement, highlighting the importance of courage in the sport.

“I think it takes a lot of courage and commitment because running into a box with a pole and hoping you go upwards is very scary, so I think it takes a lot of courage,” she said. “You need to be able to tell yourself that you can do it rather than just giving up, like I’ve done a few times.”

The pole vault team had a successful season this year but has high expectations for next year as well.

“I’m hoping that next year we will have the opportunity to not only compete as a full league, but also have the chance to qualify for those bigger meets,” said Pisenti.

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Pole vaulters raise the bar with excellent season