Athletes vaulting to new heights

Nanaimo Track and Field Club athletes have only been pole vaulting for two years, but already they are starting to make a name for themselves.

Jason Clare earned a silver medal at the B.C. Summer Games last year and won his age group at the youth championships to really establish the program, but on the weekend in Langley Dominic Boar, 13, cleared the second highest mark in his age group in B.C. Athletics history.

But it doesn’t stop there, as 80-year-old Joe Gegerich broke the B.C. masters senior mark in Langley as well, jumping 1.55 metres. He’s only been jumping for one year, picking up the sport shortly after becoming an octogenarian.

“It’s exhilarating. At my age, I’m just thrilled to be able to do it,” said Gegerich, who held the old mark at 1.46 metres.

He was originally asked by vaulting coach Sven Donaldson to help coach the junior group of athletes, and next thing he knew he was a student himself, once again.

“It makes me feel young too,” he the Nanoose Bay retiree.

Gegerich has competed in track for years as a middle distance runner, but an irregular heart beat ended his running days.

Undeterred, he started trying several other field events, but nothing gives him a rush quite like pole vaulting.

“Pole vault, I think, is a heart exhilarator,” he said with a laugh.

“I can’t think of a better way to spend my leisure hours.”

He is now eyeing the 20-year-old Canadian record at 2.03 metres.

There is a lot of potential within the group, however. Clare has picked up where he left off last year and is primed to break the three-metre mark. He jumped 2.90 in Langley




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