Hunt pole vaults way into youth worlds

NIAGARA FALLS – Makiah Hunt is setting an impossible standard for future Ontario high school pole vaulters to follow.

At the recent Ontario Federation of School Athletic Associations’ track and field championships in Toronto, the Grade 11 student at Saint Michael High School in Niagara Falls won the senior girls pole vault with a leap of 3.65 metres.

The provincial senior girls pole vault medal follows on the heels of the provincial midget girls high school crown she won in Grade 9 and the junior girls crown she garnered in Grade 10.

“I was a little surprised that I did win this year because it is my first year in senior,” the 17-year-old said. “The girl who came second was in Grade 12 and the girl who came third was a 12B.

“It was good to get the gold even though I was at the bottom of the pile.”

Finishing second to Hunt was Bolton Pole Vault teammate Anna Larsson, with a jump of 3.55 metres.

“It was a good competition and we were battling back and forth, but we were cheering on one another,” Hunt said.

Her OFSAA-winning jump wasn’t a career best but it got the job done.

“For big meets like that, you want to get the win more than a small meet where the win isn’t as important as a personal best,” she said.

After winning at 3.65 metres, Hunt wasn’t successful at 3.8 metres. Hunt jumped 3.8 metres a few weeks prior to OFSAA at a meet held on the streets of Windsor. It was a crucial result because the height was the qualifying standard for her to attend the world youth championships in Cali, Columbia July 9-20.

“I wanted to get it out of the way before OFSAA so I could focus on getting the gold,” she said. “If I had to get the 3.80 while I was there, it would have been another stress.”

Next up for Hunt is jumping 10 centimetres higher.

“To get to the (world youth) finals, I have to jump 3.90 so that’s the next stop in where I want to go,” she said. “It never ends. You just want to keep getting personal bests.”

Before she leaves as a member of Team Canada, she has qualifying meets for a spot on Team Ontario.

“I can’t get ahead of myself and think I have a spot on Team Ontario. But the youth category includes the age a year younger than me and they’re not as developed yet.

“I have a little advantage.”

She is staying on top of that advantage by training at Bolton Pole Vault twice a week.

Her motivation in the sport is simple.

“The big motivation for me was getting to worlds and I did have a lot of doubt,” she said. “ My back was really bad in the indoor season and it was really good that it all came together for the outdoor season.”

With the high school track and field season over, she will need to be self-motivated.

“Everyone else is winding down and not as many people will be at practice,” she said. “It’s pushing myself to get ready for worlds.”

She can’t wait for her first chance to represent Canada.

“I am really excited and it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Hunt said.

Representing Canada has been on her mind for a few years.

“After last year’s outdoor season, I talked to some athletes who went to the previous youth worlds and it was like a huge goal,” she said. “I wanted to be there and when I went indoor my jumping changed form. It developed really nicely.

Through the entire process, Hunt had a piece of paper on her bedroom wall reading ‘Dream Big, worlds and 3.80 metres.’

“Right now, it’s still up their reminding me that I am going,” she said, with a laugh. “I will probably change the goal.”




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