SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – Located inside the Willamalane Center for Sports and Recreation, The Raising The Bar pole vault club is Lane County’s primary destination for aspiring pole-vaulters.
Started 6 years ago by coaches Mark Vanderville, Dan Umenhofer, and Dan West, Raising The Bar has been serving pole-vaulters of all ages and skill levels.
Their goal is “to promote the sport of pole vault and do it safe,” Vauderville said.
Once a 17-foot pole vaulter at the University of Oregon, Vanderville stresses the need to teach the event with safety being a top priority.
The liability that high schools face if a pole vaulting accident should occur is leading to some schools to shut down the event according to Vanderville. Coaches from different schools are welcome to come and have the Raising the Bar coaches “coach the coach,” Vanderville said.
Some coaches are content with having their athletes come get extra training with Vanderville’s club, but he states that others only allow their athletes to attend during their respective offseason. This however does not inhibit the coaches at Raising The Bar.
Raising the Bar focuses on the fundamentals of the pole vault and encourages people who have never tried the sport to come and join. Vanderville says that the oldest individual to come try the sport was into his 70s and has frequent athletes vault in master’s competitions. University of Oregon track athlete Kortney Ross also attends Raising the Bar practices and attributes much of her improvement to this club.
Dan Umenhofer recalls the days when the indoor facilities at the U of O would allow recreational pole-vaulting at its facility, but after they were banned they turned to the Willamette Center which offered them a great price and in turn could provide pole-vaulters a inexpensive price to jump on a weekly bases.
Umenhofer spoke about the immediate success Raising the Bar. “Right off the bat we had immediate success because we had exceptional pole-vaulters who had nowhere to go, so they came here,” he said.
The club continues to enjoy relative success and is pushing to add multiple pole vault pits if space allows. For now, aspiring pole-vaulters can get their adrenaline rush by jumping with Raising the Bar.