Pole Vault Coach Livio Centanaro at Eleanor Roosevelt High School, located in Eastvale, California, took initiative to start a vaulting program and has seen amazing results in a short time. He says this of his start at ERHS: “Being a former high school pole vaulter I wanted my daughter to try the sport to see if she would enjoy it as much as I did. She came out for the team and I noticed that there was no program established. I took over the program and I am now currently in my 4th year coaching (with 4 years of coaching total).” Since starting out, Coach Centanaro has not only helped his daughter, Gardenia Centanaro, achieve success, but he has also helped his school and pole vaulting community in many ways.
In his time as a coach, Coach Centanaro says he has seen pole vaulting take off in his community. “I have seen an increase in the popularity in the pole vault in the last 4 years in our area,” he tells us. “In the past it has always been Orange County schools that produce the highest vaulters. I am proud to say that we are giving them some good competition.”
Good competition is right! We learned about the heights his team is jumping, and it is no wonder Coach Centanaro feels confident in his vaulters. He says, “in just 4 years of coaching I have had 3 girls go over 10’, and 3 boys over 14’. This year alone my highest Girl, Gardenia Centanaro, is currently at 12’8” and ranked 3rd in the state of California. She also holds the Riverside County all-time highest height in the pole vault. My 3 boys are Andre Elmore with a 14’6” PR, Clint Suppe at a 14′ PR and Nick Weisheit at a PR of 14’9”.” According to Coach Centanaro, the Riverside County record was 12’7” for ten years before Gardenia Centanaro broke it at their second league invite. And Andre Elmore reached his PR of 14’6” in only one league meet. These accomplishments are certainly something for any coach to be proud of.
In addition to their abilities to jump high, Coach Centanaro’s vaulters are also determined, which made 2012 a pretty dramatic and eventful season. “2012 was the first year I was fortunate enough to have a vaulter make it all the way to the State Meet, with Nick Weisheit nearly missing the 15’3” mark to move on to the State Meet from CIF Masters,” he tells us of this past year. “Gardenia Centanaro made it to the State Meet on a severe ankle sprain that she got in practice 3 days prior to our League Finals Meet, taking only 1 jump at 10’4” in League Finals to qualify for CIF. Resting and aiding her ankle for 1 week and no practice- this was the plan: to move on from week to week, jumping at a large height each week: 10’9” at CIF Prelims, 11′ at CIF Finals and 11’8 at CIF Masters to make it to the show- STATE MEET! This showed me that she was determined and wanted this more than anything.”
The success of the ERHS vaulters is, most likely, largely due to their rigorous training regiment Coach Centanaro has in place. What is also amazing about Coach Centanaro is that he does not limit helping young vaulters to only those at his school. He genuinely wants all vaulters to succeed, and for pole vaulting to continue to gain momentum in his area. When asked about his program, he says, “This season I have 13 vaulters that represent our school. I am always open to helping other pole vaulters in our community. I am currently coaching two vaulters in a near-by league- one of them being number 1 in her league at 10’. We train hard- not just physically, but mentally as well. My athletes are aware that in the pole vault you always end your competition on a miss, so with that you take that as a learning tool and work on what is needed to perform well the next competition. We all go into a competition knowing that our biggest competitor that day is ourselves. I would rather my athletes come in last place at a meet and PR by 1’ than win the meet and vault 2’ under their PR.”
“We utilize just about anything we can to incorporate a pole vault drill,” Coach Centanaro continues on about his program. “We have a 14’ trampoline, 6 mini trampolines, gymnastic rings, high bars, mini hurdles and a 2” rope that hangs 16’ in the air, just to name a few.”
Coach Centanaro is also busy in the off-season as well, keeping the training opportunities open to his vaulters. He tells us, “I coach year-round, breaking down the vault in the post-season with gymnastic drills, a lot of basic pole drills and jumping all pre-season.” He offers clinics at ERHS as well. “In the off-season I offer training to any athlete interested in learning the sport or just improving their vault. Any clinics that I host go towards all equipment needed for our program,” he says.
While he is the only pole vault coach for the Roosevelt High School Mustangs, Coach Centanaro has some much appreciated help. Scott Weisheit, father of Nick Weisheit, is the parent volunteer for the team. They are also fortunate enough to have sponsors. Coach Centanaro tells us, “Rick Foster at Cal Track supports and sponsors us. I purchase all my equipment from Rick. Chris Bradford is also a sponsor and supporter to our program. He is a friend that has donated equipment as well, and has gone to all our meets to support us and take pictures for us.”
Coach Centanaro’s methods seem to be working for the Roosevelt High School vaulting team. We hope they will bring him even more success with his vaulters in the future. They certainly are making a name for themselves. If Coach Centanaro’s love for vaulting continues to catch on maybe there will be even more great things in store for ERHS and the Riverside County community. We will all be keeping an eye out for the Mustangs at ERHS.
By: Michelle Walthall