Over the course of her high school track and field career, Franklin senior Elise Machen has been a huge asset for the Cougars in a variety of events.
She’s run in the 100 meters, 200 meters and in several relay events, and has competed in the long jump with plenty of success.
But it’s the pole vault which has won Machen’s attention and is her favorite sport. Recently, the standout pole vaulted a personal best of 13 feet, 6 inches at the Tall City Invitational in Midland. It was one of the best marks in the nation and it has helped open many doors for her in terms of recruiting by Division I schools.
“I think the hard work is paying off,” said Machen, whose previous best jump was 12-10 at an indoor meet in Reno in January. Her previous best in an outdoor meet was 12-6.
“I really enjoy the pole vault and it has been my favorite since I started it as a freshman,” Machen said. “I feel like every year I’m getting better. My run up is good to the pole vault. I’m just trying to be more consistent in my technique. It’s been hard work but I really enjoy the process. I have always liked challenges and the pole vault was a challenge.
“It’s not the easiest of events but I had the mentality from the start that I was going to be the best I could at it and that was I was going to give everything I had to be competitive in the event.”
Franklin girls head coach Jesse Aguilar said Machen’s development as a pole vaulter comes as no surprise.
“Elise has great mechanics and it was an amazing effort in Midland,” Aguilar said. “She’s such a great athlete and has been such a great competitor for us. But Elise has settled in on the pole vault as her best event and she has a bright future ahead of her.”
Machen is receiving interest from a variety of Division I programs but her goal is winning district, regionals and state before heading off to college.
“What I accomplished in Midland was tremendous and something I’ll never forget. It gave me a burst of confidence,” she said. “But I know I have to keep working hard and improving each day in practice and in each event. I’m just trying to fine tune some things so I can be at my best. The ultimate goal is winning a state title and if I put my mind to it, I believe I can do it.”
Paul Benavides works with Machen in the pole vault and said she has come a long way in the past four years.
“Elise is very strong and she’s developing all the time in her vault,” he said. “It takes a long time to try and master the event. Even those who have done well over the years and who have been at it a long time are still learning and developing. Elise just needs to keep working hard on her technique. She is capable of great things and I believe her future is bright. She has a great attitude about the sport and her confidence is getting higher and higher all the time.”
Felix Chávez may be reached at 546-6167.
Who: Elise Machen.
Position: Senior pole vaulter on the Franklin High School track and field team.
Of note: Machen is a multi-event standout for the Cougars but the past two years, she has been a standout in the pole vault. Earlier this year at track and field meet in Midland, she cleared 13 feet, 6 inches, one of the top marks in the country this year.
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