A short jaunt, quick plant and Peter Chapman was soaring through the air.
The 17-year-old Murrieta Valley High School pole vaulter practiced with a swagger on Monday, just two days after shattering school and county records and taking first place at a premiere national competition.
“We knew it would come,” Peter said of his performance. The senior athlete said he has been preparing rigorously for months for this season’s competition.
He’s just one member of a stand-out team of pole jockeys with their sights set on big regional and state meets coming up in the next few months. MVHS sophomore Amy Angevine traveled with Peter to Arcadia and took home fourth-place honors for her 10 foot 7 inch tournament best.
Peter notched a 16 foot 6-and-1/2 inch jump Saturday at the Arcadia Invitational, launching himself into the national leader boards and drawing a bright red line in the sand for competitors across the state.
His recipe for success is simple: practice, practice, practice until the sun goes down.
“The first year is the hardest,” he said. “We would be out here for three to four hours a day until the sun went down.”
But after training with his father and coach Charles Chapman, a high school and college vaulter, have placed Peter firmly among the state’s elite cadre of student athletes.
The elder Chapman said he’s enjoyed shepherding his flock of up-and-coming flyers through their early fears of letting loose and launching themselves over the bar.
Vaulting, he said, is a lot like life:
“The bar represents the problems out there, and they have these tools to overcome that bar.”
Amy, 16, said the sport was “about the bar and you.”
“It’s always a challenge,” she said. “You can never be perfect at it.”
Amy quickly ratcheted up her game Saturday, quickly moving from a 9 foot 1 inch attempt to 9 foot 7 inches and eventually her victory-clinching 10 foot 7 inch lob.
Teammate Jessica Abalos, a 15-year-old sophomore, said competing alongside advanced vaulters like Peter and Amy pushed her to succeed.
“I feel like if they can do it, I can do it too,” she said.
Jessica qualified for regionals this year, and she said she’s pushing herself upward to higher marks on the pole.
“It’s something different,” she said of pole vaulting. “You get that feeling when you’re up in the air you wouldn’t get for anything else.”
By David Leonard
Retrieved From: http://murrieta.patch.com/articles/vaulting-toward-victory