NEW ROCHELLE — One of Westchester’s best pole vaulters let it fly, taking his turn in kickball during physical education class last May inside the Iona Prep gym. He made an out, then jokingly feigned his frustration. Soon he was kicking himself, figuratively speaking.
“I was messing around with the class,” Matt Urbano said outside the school Monday at the 36th annual Iona Prep/Ursuline Invitational. “I wanted to go pretend to punch the wall. I hit it a little too hard.”
Urbano didn’t have to feign frustration anymore. He broke the fifth metacarpal in his right hand. He had just finished second in the county meet. But now his spring season was over — KO’d by an unfortunate punch.
“That was just terrible,” Urbano said. “I was really put down for that. I had a really good season. I wanted to finish strong. But that just stopped me from doing that.”
No chance to compete at the CHSAA intersectionals. No chance to compete at the outdoor nationals in North Carolina. Urbano did go, though. The plane fare was already paid. He joked that it was a chance to “torture myself.”
But the talented senior from Yonkers was back in the air this winter, soaring for the county and CHSAA sectional crowns, finishing 12th in the Federation and tying for 15th among the Emerging Elite at indoor nationals. He matched his personal best of 14 feet, 6 inches twice and committed to Division I Binghamton along the way.
Now Urbano plans to fly high in this final high school season. He began it with a win at this home meet, opening at 13 feet and clearing it on his last try to beat the 12-6 belonging to Coleman Kraemer, a Fordham Prep junior from Bronxville.
“I want to get 15-6,” Urbano said. “That’s my goal. I’m hoping to qualify for states as well as nationals, and be able to compete healthy.”
Almost a year later, Urbano can chuckle about literally hitting a wall in his season. Gaels coach Jan Mitchell said: “I hope he learned something from it.”
“Watch out for the walls,” Urbano said with a smile.