H.S. TRACK: Holy Cross pole vaulters Ware and Marsh are two of a kind

Ultimately, they are two of a kind.

They’re two people with different personalities and similar athletic abilities, who have developed a lifelong friendship through track and field.

Tom Ware, a towering junior who combines his size, strength and speed, is reserved. He is a quiet competitor with a burning desire for success.

Matt Marsh, a scrappy sophomore, is outgoing. He, too, strives to be the best and does so while being passionate and energetic.

They are among the top pole vaulters in the Lackawanna Track Conference and multi-event standouts at Holy Cross.

Often referred to as Batman and Robin, this dynamic duo has reached new heights while pushing each other to achieve their lofty goals.

“It is fantastic to work with them,” Holy Cross pole vaulting coach Gene Sagan said. “They work really well together and they encourage each other. They have a friendly rivalry. And yes, they are two very different kids, but they have similarities, too. Tom has a great instinct about pole vaulting. Matt is very athletic and he has great potential. But they are both students of pole vaulting. They know the phases, the grips, the steps, everything.

“We have a good time and they make practice fun. They are easy to work with and they are very determined. It’s really unbelievable.”

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A football player at heart, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Ware joined the Holy Cross program as a freshman.

His tall frame and muscular build led him to the hurdles and jumping events. Then, he wandered over to the pole vault.

“I was looking into every event when I was starting out,” Ware said. “We needed pole vaulters and I cleared 9 feet on my first day. So from then on, I loved pole vaulting.”

Big and strong, Ware focused on the vault, but never stopped competing in his other events. He is a team player and knows the benefits of racing in the 110-meter hurdles and the 300 hurdles, or contributing in the jumps.

Every event develops and contributes to his pole vaulting.

“Hurdles really helps with my flexibility and endurance,” Ware said. “I move around with my other events competing in the jumps and the throws. Leg speed is everything in the pole vault and every event helps.”

As a sophomore, Ware began to make a mark in the conference. He cleared 12 feet at the Robert Spagna Championship meet and placed third. He also placed seventh in the 110 hurdles.

Then at the District 2 Class AA championships, he soared over 12-6 to earn a bronze medal.

That served as motivation.

“Getting 12-6 as a sophomore was certainly great,” Ware said. “But, this year, I am aiming to get 13-6.”

As a freshman, Marsh had never tried the pole vault before but was eager to give it a try.

“It was something very different,” Marsh said. “I was really pumped to try it. I thought it was something that could really be a lot of fun.”

Like Ware, Marsh also complements his pole vaulting with work on the track. He runs the hurdle events, with the 300 hurdles being his forte.

In his first season in the pole vault, Marsh grabbed a place at the District 2 Class AA championships, clearing 10-6 for fifth.

“I practiced all summer at Abington Heights,” Marsh said. “Then we used the indoor facility at Baptist Bible (College) and that helped a lot, too.

“Plus, coach Sagan has been working with us


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Ware and Marsh have become close friends.

Each coaches the other at practice and before meets. Ware, 17, the more experienced of the two, has been a big influence on Marsh.

“We have a great relationship,” Marsh said. “When I first met Tom, he is a quiet guy. But once we broke through, we have been best friends from there.

“That helps us get better and stronger moving


Marsh, 15, is an inspiration to Ware.

“He’s catching up,” Ware said. “I am a little nervous, but I like the competition. We are teammates and I like seeing him move up and improve, too.

“He is in the same position that I was in when I was a sophomore, so he is doing really well.”

And as they continue to work together, the sky appears to be the limit.


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