VAULTER VAULTER

After long absence, Billlings Central vaulters ready to clear the bar

“This is my first year doing track,” Central junior Caleb Wall said, “and most of the reason I did it was because of pole vault.”

Martinez said there are currently four athletes — three boys, one girl — at Central who practice and compete steadily in pole vault. Wall became the first to clear a height this season, vaulting over the bar at 8-6.

“A couple kids were excited right away; it sounded like something new and interesting and fun,” Martinez said. “I told the kids who were wanting to do it, I told them off the bat, this isn’t just any sport. It’s a high-risk sport and you have to be dedicated. They have been.”

Safety in pole vaulting at all levels has been a concern for years. Some states have implemented safety measures like helmets, increased mat sizes and/or padding around the plant box. Others have eliminated the sport altogether.

State qualifying marks in Montana range from 13-6 for Class AA boys to 9-feet for Class B/C girls. At those heights, anything could go wrong.

Martinez said he missed the mat during his senior season at MSUB, where in 2013 he set a then-school indoor record at 14-1 3/4. In his mishap, Martinez said he broke three ribs and chipped a vertebrae in his back.

“I got overconfident and jumped too high on the pole,” he said. “I think the chances are slim you’ll get really hurt, but when someone does … everyone hears about it. If you’re always aware of coaching techniques and listen to coaches, you’ll be fine.”

Added Wall: “I’m not too worried about it. It’s something you’re not thinking about and don’t want to be while you’re doing it.”

John Healey, a senior at Central, made his first vault a month ago shortly after the start of practices. It’s something he had always wanted to try — “That’s kind of who I am,” he said — and has grown a liking to.

“You imagine yourself going over the bar … and when you actually do the vault, you plant in the plant box, it all goes pretty quick after that,” he said. “I’m a senior jumping into it, really at the last second. I don’t have anywhere to go but up.”

Healey, like Wall, has cleared 9 feet and nearly 9-6 in practices. Both have goals of reaching 11-12 feet by the end of the season. Martinez’s hopes are for something around 10 feet.

“My goal was to get over some bars,” Martinez said. “I didn’t care what height they were. They did that, and I thought that was pretty cool.”

And with it, pole vault has marked its return to track and field at Central. This time, hopefully, it’s here to stay.

“More people should give it a try,” Healey said. “It’s pretty hard at first, but when you get into it, it’s quite enjoyable.”

“This is my first year doing track,” Central junior Caleb Wall said, “and most of the reason I did it was because of pole vault.”

Martinez said there are currently four athletes — three boys, one girl — at Central who practice and compete steadily in pole vault. Wall became the first to clear a height this season, vaulting over the bar at 8-6.

“A couple kids were excited right away; it sounded like something new and interesting and fun,” Martinez said. “I told the kids who were wanting to do it, I told them off the bat, this isn’t just any sport. It’s a high-risk sport and you have to be dedicated. They have been.”

Safety in pole vaulting at all levels has been a concern for years. Some states have implemented safety measures like helmets, increased mat sizes and/or padding around the plant box. Others have eliminated the sport altogether.

State qualifying marks in Montana range from 13-6 for Class AA boys to 9-feet for Class B/C girls. At those heights, anything could go wrong.

Martinez said he missed the mat during his senior season at MSUB, where in 2013 he set a then-school indoor record at 14-1 3/4. In his mishap, Martinez said he broke three ribs and chipped a vertebrae in his back.

“I got overconfident and jumped too high on the pole,” he said. “I think the chances are slim you’ll get really hurt, but when someone does … everyone hears about it. If you’re always aware of coaching techniques and listen to coaches, you’ll be fine.”

Added Wall: “I’m not too worried about it. It’s something you’re not thinking about and don’t want to be while you’re doing it.”

John Healey, a senior at Central, made his first vault a month ago shortly after the start of practices. It’s something he had always wanted to try — “That’s kind of who I am,” he said — and has grown a liking to.

“You imagine yourself going over the bar … and when you actually do the vault, you plant in the plant box, it all goes pretty quick after that,” he said. “I’m a senior jumping into it, really at the last second. I don’t have anywhere to go but up.”

Healey, like Wall, has cleared 9 feet and nearly 9-6 in practices. Both have goals of reaching 11-12 feet by the end of the season. Martinez’s hopes are for something around 10 feet.

“My goal was to get over some bars,” Martinez said. “I didn’t care what height they were. They did that, and I thought that was pretty cool.”

And with it, pole vault has marked its return to track and field at Central. This time, hopefully, it’s here to stay.

“More people should give it a try,” Healey said. “It’s pretty hard at first, but when you get into it, it’s quite enjoyable.”

From: http://billingsgazette.com/sports/high-school/track-and-field/pole-vault-story/article_0f419955-02de-557a-89ed-af6b04907eaf.html

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