Senior pole vaulter Zach Ferrara made College at Brockport track and field history Friday, March 8, as he became the first pole vaulter to be crowned national champion for the Golden Eagles. While claiming the title, Ferrara also posted a school record of 5.09 meters (16-8 1/4 feet) at the NCAA Division III National Championships at North Central College in Naperville, Ill.
Sophomore sprinter Dre Johnson also competed at the championships in the 60-meter dash.
“It has been a long four years of hard work,” Ferrara said. “To see it pay off like this is absolutely amazing.”
Ferrara defeated University of Wisconsin La Crosse’s Rob Rohe and North Central College’s Josh Winder in the final attempt of the day. His final pole vault bested his previous season best of 4.92 meters, which he set March 2 at the ECAC Championships.
Ferrara’s pole vault national championship is the first in Brockport’s school history.
“Words can’t describe it,” Ferrara said. “My dad always told me everything happens for a reason.”
Head Coach Ed Jaskulski said it is a great example of hard work, time and effort truly paying off.
“You won’t find a kid that will out-work Zach,” Jaskulski said. “Zach coming home a national champion is just a great achievement in his career. It is a great accomplishment for Zach and for our track and field program.”
Ferrara’s national championship caps off a terrific four-year indoor track and field career. He is also a two-time pole vault SUNYAC champion.
Johnson, who is ranked No. 4 nationally, said he was happy to be able to represent Brockport.
“It was a wonderful experience,” Johnson said. “My performance wasn’t the best, but just to be there was huge.”
Following the national championships, Ferrara and Johnson arrived via police escort back in Brockport where their track and field teammates and coaches, as well as other Brockport sports teams, welcomed them.
“Seeing everyone here, all the smiling faces, I don’t think it could be replaced or matched,” Ferrara said.
Ferrara and Johnson finished their indoor track and field seasons by competing with the toughest Division III competition in the nation. They will both be looking to carry their successes into the spring for the outdoor track and field season.
“I couldn’t be happier for Zach and Dre,” Jaskulski said. “They both got to represent the college, their team and their sport nationally. I am really looking forward to both athletes’ performances this outdoor season as well as the rest of the team to make a push for a SUNYAC Championship and to have more national representation.”
The outdoor track and field season will start March 22 and 23 when the Brockport Golden Eagles travel to Army for the Dick Shew Open.