Warwick’s Dibona eager to soar higher

Summer pole vault training is all about trying new things. Warwick’s Derek Dibona believes he’s picked up some useful tips at an Olympian’s camp this week, and he’s eager to soar even higher.

Dibona will compete in the boys’ 15-16 age division of the U.S. Junior Olympics Championships on Saturday in Greensboro, N.C. Dibona will cap his summer at next month’s Beach Vault event on the New Jersey shore.

“I am feeling pretty good,” Dibona said. “I feel like I am going to peak at the end of this summer, rather than at states.”

Dibona won the Section 9 state qualifier at 13 feet, 9 inches, and cleared 14-6 to earn the large-schools Division I bronze medal at the state championships in Middletown in June — that leap ranked No. 7 in the state during the spring season. He won the New York Junior Olympics qualifier for his age group at 13-6¼.

“In the middle of the season, I was no-heighting,” Dibona said, “and at the end of the season I started making heights. I got back up to my (personal record) and have been jumping around 15 feet. Now I am getting on those bigger poles that I wanted to get on during the school season … and I feel like I am going to peak.”

Dibona is not intimidated about going to greater heights.

“Other pole vaulters say when you get to one height you think differently,” Dibona said. “I don’t know why, but when I go to a new height or a different pole I get excited. It almost excites to me jump at a higher height. I don’t really think there’s a limit.”

Dibona said he never expected to medal at the state meet at only 14-6, but that’s the way the meet played out. Dibona said he’s eager to jump 15 feet at Junior Olympics, but he won’t be disappointed if he doesn’t because he believes he’s a little ahead of schedule.

“I know everything that I have done this year is everything I wanted — jumping at Penn Relays, at Millrose, at nationals twice,” said Dibona, who is headed into his junior year at Warwick. “I always wanted to go to those meets — now, I feel a little accomplished.”

Dibona has been attending 1972 Olympic bronze medalist Jan Johnson’s pole vault camp in Pennsylvania. Johnson and famed Warwick pole vault coach Tim St. Lawrence were former roommates.

“Jan has a similar way of teaching like Saint does, and a different way of explaining different parts of the jump,” Dibona said. “Every little thing is great.”

Derek Dibona
Derek Dibona


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