Pole vaulting is something of a science to Lyndsi Ross-Trevor, the Montclair Kimberley Academy senior who, with a keen interest in sports engineering, has thoughts of one day helping to better athletic equipment of all types, whether it’s the shoes competitors wear, the skis they use to jet down slopes or through water, or the poles used in vaulting over a horizontal bar set at new and tougher to clear heights in track and field.
It’s the latter aforementioned area of expertise where Ross-Trevor has already made her mark as a competitor, clearing 11 feet, 6 inches her junior high school season for a new MKA school pole vault record, and equaling that height again twice within three days in a pair of club meets this past December at Lehigh University.
She has had three top-three finishes in the Essex County Championships, including finishing first in 2013, with the 2014 Essex meet scheduled May 16-17 at Montclair’s Woodman Field. And she is also a two-time Non-Public B state champion.
As one of New Jersey’s top half dozen scholastic pole vaulters this spring season, the Dartmouth College-bound Ross-Trevor certainly has the discipline and determination to clear 12 feet as her MKA coach Tom Fleming insists she can do, and perhaps even challenge the likes of Hillsborough’s sensation Marlee Sabatino – who has already cleared 12-6 – in the upcoming NJSIAA Meet of Champions (Wednesday, June 4, at Frank Jost Field in South Plainfield) should both young ladies advance as expected to that primetime season-ending stage less than a month away.
While the proverbial “loneliness of the long distance runner” can also apply to the solitary, self-initiated pursuit of success in pole vaulting, Lyndsi-Ross doesn’t mind working out by herself on certain occasions, and she also enjoys the challenges, both physically and mentally inherent in the specialized event.
“Being alone while doing the pole vault doesn’t bother me,” she said while getting in some side speed work at the Verona track earlier this week in preparation for this Saturday’s Super Essex Conference meet at Schools Stadium in Newark. “I miss having a girls track teammate in the pole vault with Dana [Placentra] graduating last spring, which meant we couldn’t compete in the Essex Relays this season, but I do have Ike [Osbun] who competes with our boys team, to vault with at practice, and I get to work with a lot of other girls with my club team at Vertical Assault [in Bethlehem, Pa.].”
There is certainly an added bit of excitement and aura of the pole vault event that some fans or young competitors can be drawn to as competitors as they envision elevating themselves in the air to clear an intended high bar.
“People may think it’s cool and easier than it actually is because they also may think that the pole does most of the work, but that’s a common misunderstanding,” said Ross-Trevor, who started out as a successful youth gymnast from ages 6-13 before transitioning to the pole vault. “First of all, you have to have a good run because you’re not going anywhere if you don’t have that plus a good plant [with the pole].
“You have to have a dynamic swing and the core strength. You also have to invert and pull yourself up, and beginners take time to learn that.”
Combining pole vaulting with studying biomedical engineering at Dartmouth appears to be a terrific combination on the collegiate on-and-off-the-field agenda for the cerebral and very motivated Ross-Trevor, who also had official visits to William & Mary and Williams College and also went to see the University of Virginia, Wake Forest and Bucknell.
In the end, it was the Dartmouth Green in the picturesque Ivy League setting of Hanover, N.H. that most captivated the MKA senior.
“When I took my official visit there I immediately fell in love with the school,” said Ross-Trevor. “Their track coaches showed a lot of interest in me and their biomedical engineering major fits in well with my passion for studying more about sports engineering through the biomedical knowledge and material science in the curriculum there, and transferring that to hopefully one day working in the area of improving sports equipment.”
Ross-Trevor’s mom, Stacey Fox Ross-Trevor, stands 5-9 ½ and was a former standout women’s basketball player at the University of Delaware. Her dad, Marty was an outstanding fencer in his time.
Athleticism combined with a strong mind continue to pay big dividends for MKA’s all-time pole vaulting great.
“Pole vaulting is a highly technical event that can take years to develop in, and Lyndsi has gained in confidence, plus there is no one at the high school level who has more experience than her,” said Tom Fleming, the longtime MKA head track and field coach. “When she goes to college and jumps more in and out of season and gets involved with additional training, such as in plyometrics and even more weight training, I believe she will simply continue to improve.
“The highly disciplined aspect of pole vaulting suits her personality. She is hard-headed in the sense she knows every jump isn’t going to be perfect, yet she’ll do all the hard work to keep getting better. America does well with pole vaulting, and why can’t she be the one to set a Dartmouth school record one day?”
She will work with former Seton Hall Prep standout Moose Akanno, the jumps coach at Dartmouth, on a superb coaching staff headed by Sandy Ford-Centonze.
“The coaches at Dartmouth are great,” said Ross-Trevor. “Right now I’ll probably go in there as their fourth or fifth pole vaulter, but I’m more than willing to put in the time and energy to be the best I can be.”
For now, it’s back to concentrating on the stretch run of her final high school season, which will blow by like a quick moving, brisk mid-May wind as the SEC and Essex meets are followed by the state prep championships on Monday, May 19, at Newark Academy, followed by the state sectionals (May 23-24) at Monsignor Donovan in Toms River and then the group championships (May 30-31) and MOC (June 4) at South Plainfield.
“I really like the group meet in the spring track season,” said Ross-Trevor. “I was fifth outdoors [clearing 11-0] in the Meet of Champions last year [an event Pope John’s then sophomore Katlyn Rymarzov won at 11-6], and there are so many good pole vaulters who will be there again I’m sure.
“I enjoy the great competition and I’ll work my hardest to finish strong in the final few weeks of my senior season.”
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