It’s one of the coolest events in high school track and field and Huntington is looking to make an athlete or two or three pole vault stars. Don’t worry if you have little or no experience, the coaches will train you. All you need is athleticism and a sense of adventure.
Pole vaulters use a long flexible pole to help hoist themselves over a bar. Thick padded mats rest underneath so there’s nothing to worry about on the trip back down to ground. It’s fun.
Athletes run toward the bar with the pole in hand and place one end of it in a specially designed groove. The pole bends and then snaps back and helps propel and carry the athlete over the bar, which must stay in place for the attempt to be measured and count for score.
Chris Ng is believed to hold the Huntington High School record, setting a mark of 12 feet in the even in 1985. In more recent years, Andrew Funk jumped 11 feet in 2012 and Pat Wolber scaled 10 feet in 2013. Joe Saginaw recorded heights of 10 feet in 2014 and 11-06 feet in 2015.
“It would be outstanding to start contesting the pole vault event again,” said Ron Wilson, Huntington’s boys’ head coach. “We are surrendering points by not having anyone. Our kids are also missing out on something that’s really fun. It’s a unique event and definitely something that a person has to work at. It doesn’t come naturally. But, we have coaches that can help kids interested in learning about it.”
Pole vault has been a men’s event in the Summer Olympics since the modern Games were first contested in 1896. It was added to women’s Olympic track and field for the 2000 Games.
The pole itself is typically constructed of either fiberglass or carbon fiber. Wilson said the Blue Devils will provide athletes with the pole. The team has all of the other equipment, including mats, bars, etc.
“I’d really love it if a few kids decided they want to give it a shot,” Wilson said. “The younger the better because it will give them plenty of time to learn about the event and the techniques it requires and then gain experience competing. We can make these kids into pole vault stars. They will have a blast.”