As a freshman, Coronado High School’s Sam Sanchez was persuaded by his track coach Raul Lawrence to try a new challenge — pole vaulting.
Today, the junior is headed to the Class 5A regional track and field meet for the first time in his career April 27-28 in Lubbock.
“Without a doubt, it’s been a learning process,” Sanchez said. “I’ve listened to my coach and I just tried to get a little bit better every year and it’s been fun. I’ve reached a lot of my goals and regionals was one of them.”
So was winning at the District 1-5A meet. Sanchez won the pole vault last week with a jump of 14 feet.
“Sam works tremendously hard,” Lawrence said. “Pole vaulting is a hard sport, but he’s picked up a lot of the technique and he has very good speed on the runway. He’s improved two feet every year and the goal is by next year to make it to state.”
Lawrence said it will take around a 15-6 vault to make it to the state meet in Austin. Sanchez feels with more hard work and improvement, he has a chance.
“I’m going to try and make it this year of course,” Sanchez said. “I feel like I can vault even better at regionals this year. I’m continuing to work on some things in the next few days before going to the next meet. Every day is a new day for me with the pole vault and that makes me want to do better.”
Sanchez, who also competes in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles, prepares diligently when it comes to the pole vault. He lifts twice a week, works on rope drills, and finesses his technique prior to each meet.
“We do a lot of different things to get ready for a meet,” Sanchez said. “It’s hard work, but really worth it.”
Lawrence has been coaching at Coronado for 13 years and has coached two pole vaulters who have marks of at least 15 feet. He believes Sanchez will be No. 3.
“Sam has such a good outlook on the sport and he has a lot of confidence in himself,” Lawrence said. “If he can keep improving and keep working to be the best he can be, he has a real shot at breaking 15 feet.”
And that’s just another challenge for Sanchez.
“I’ve grown to really enjoy the sport,” Sanchez said. “I look back and I’m glad I took the chance on the pole vault. After this season is over I’ll continue to compete and work on my technique. The work for me in the pole vault never stops.”
By: Felix Chavez
Retrieved From: http://www.elpasotimes.com/sports/ci_20430816/coronado-high-pole-vaulter-works-reach-state