How Joe Sarra coached State College High into a pole vaulting dynasty without ever having pole vaulted himself

Joe Sarra tried to explain pole vaulting to someone who’ll never do it. Which is pretty much everyone on earth.

Sarra is actually pretty good at this, for a reason that’s at once logical and antithetical. The State College High School assistant track & field coach is a former javelin thrower. He’s never competed in a pole vault event in his life. Yet, he’s turned State High into a pole vaulting powerhouse as its coach.

While you get your mind around that, here’s his description of the strange and fascinating sport he loves:

“It’s like its own little niche. We describe it as: You’ve gotta be smart enough to pole vault. And dumb enough to do it.”

Which is funny, for sure. But Sarra clarified exactly what he meant:

“You have to be smart enough to know what to do on the runway, know what to do on the pole and understand what you’re trying to do. Because it’s a physics-based event.

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