Vaulting to new heights

Anton Krieger has known for a number of years that pole vault was an event he would like to try.

He watched his older sister Briana compete for North Royalton High School, qualify for the state meet and place at the state indoor championships. Now, she competes at the University of Akron.

While it may be another two years until the younger Krieger has an opportunity to test his skills at the prep level, that didn’t stop the seventh-grader from signing up for the second annual pole vault camp offered by North Royalton varsity assistant coach Mike Nary.

“I’ve kind of always wanted to do this when I get to high school,” Krieger said. “I kinda wish they did it for seventh-grade.”

He was one of nearly 19 individuals from three school districts who signed up for event-specific instruction at Serpentini Stadium on July 2, 3, 5 and 6.

“We’re just trying to have a fun camp where the kids are learning, enjoying themselves and making friends,” said Nary of the camp that lasted four hours each day.

Braving weather elements like humidity and heat that pushed 100 degrees, attendees of the clinic ranged from middle schoolers being introduced to vaulting to high schoolers from North Royalton, Walsh Jesuit and Parma.

Corey Nehoda was one of the veteran vaulters participating this season. Although he will be a senior at NRHS in the fall, Nehoda said he knows any extra practice will benefit him as he works toward the goal of breaking the school record next spring.

“This ranges from people who haven’t jumped at all to people who have jumped for four years now,” Nary said. “There is a variance in the technical skill. It helps to develop young vaulters and intermediate ones. The older ones enjoy getting better and helping out the young ones.”

During the camp, attendees worked on fundamental drills, ran sprints, learned proper technique for holding and carrying the pole down the runway and attempted vaults into one of two pits.

They also had the opportunity to watch video. Not only did they study world-class vaulters – such as the Vitaly Petrov model perfected by Olympic gold medalists Sergey Bubka and Yelena Isenbyeva – they also watched themselves via an analytical app on an iPad called Coach’s Eye.

Nary said during the four-day camp, they analyzed 212 videos.

“They’re progressing on their technique in a way that will help them in season,” Nary said. “Hopefully, they can learn from other people around them.”

Besides Nary, campers also received instruction from former North Royalton state qualifier and current Parma City Schools pole vault coach George Prokopovich, as well as Ben Morgan, a former state qualifier and school record holder at Normandy High School.

Last year, eight individuals signed up for the camp that costs $50 per participant. This summer, the enrollment more than doubled, thanks in part, to the completion of the district’s new stadium, the addition of new, regulation-sized pits purchased by the North Royalton Athletic Boosters and word of mouth.

Proceeds from the camp go toward purchasing and replacing poles to be used by campers and throughout the varsity season.

by: Lisa Gayle Grayson


Vaulting to new heights
Vaulting to new heights

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