(Murrieta, California) When starting up a club of any sort, you never know the challenges that you may face or the direction that the club may have to go to achieve their goals. One thing that we do know is the fact that a smile goes a long way.
We started this summer with a goal to take our kids to the USATF Junior Olympics in North Carolina. Last year we traveled to Kansas to participate and Sacramento the year prior. This event is what we do and what we enjoy as a team. Although the event is a week long and very tasking as a club and coach, it is well worth it when you look back and take it all in. I think that the more we reflect on what we do, the better we understand why we do it.
As a team, we continue to evolve and get better with time and experience. We started the summer and kicked the season off with a visit from Scott Kendricks, father and coach of Sam Kendricks. Sam is the 2016 Olympic Bronze medalist and the World Gold Medalist. Both are tremendous accomplishments and prestigious in the world of pole vaulting. Scott was amazing, and the athletes, parents and especially the coaches were glued to their seats listening to what he had to say. For the people that came, listened and saw what was said, they learned a lot about the sport of pole vault.
Sometimes it’s the little things in life that make the club, coaches, and people what and who they are. The experiences, the ups, downs, and the mistakes along the way. This summer was eventful and full of insights into the years to come. In the end, we wouldn’t change it for anything. What you learn in one summer can change the way you view your program and the programs around you. All we can say is thank you and how thankful we are to be a part of this community and the people that stick by us as we do what we love to do.
The club had an excellent first half of 2018 with the high school and club season kicking in gear. After the amazing run that we had at CIF, the only direction that we could go is up. And going up is what we did, taking our game to the next level. Check out this past post about CIF season http://vaulter.club/the-best-yet-and-still-more-to-come/.
This spring and summer we decided we would key into the younger boys, get them off the 12′ 130lbs poles and move them up into bigger poles with a better response. Take them back to a further step, show them better technique, how to run with a pole, raise and plant their pole correctly and turn them loose. Since we had two 8th grade boys, Kaleb Meier a returner from last year that jumped very well. Kaleb jumped a season PR last year of 10’6″ at the Region 15 Junior Olympics qualifier as a 7th-grade athlete. The other was a new join 8th grader named Caleb Fuller that jumped 9’6″ over last summer then 10’4″ at the Vaulter Club Travel Circuit in December coming into 2018.
Caleb Fuller ended up jumping 12’11.9” at the Cal State Games for a new personal record. Once again it was very nice to have the correct poles in the kids’ hands when they needed them. Not to mention the ability to get more poles when you need them.
After the Cal State Games, the club made a large purchase for new poles from Gill Athletics which Caleb Fuller used at the Junior Olympics to become the USATF Junior Olympics 13/14 National Champion. The pole he finished off on was a 13’7” – 150lbs Carbon Mystic fresh off the delivery trucks. (Delivered to Greensboro, NC) YES, they were poles that he had never jumped on before in practice. Matter of fact, all three of the poles he jumped on had not been used before that day. Imagine that!
Caleb Meier, the other 8th-grade athlete, jumped a new PR at the USATF Junior Olympics National Championships of 12’1” on all brand-new poles. Never jumped on them before and just as Fuller had never used them in practice (13’7” 150lbs). The smile on his face was priceless and to see the hard work pay off was a sight to see. Both athletes did very well after traveling from California and did what they planned to do. Good job!
Kyle Gibbs jumped in the 15-16 age category and placed 7th with a 13’7” jump to finish his run at the Junior Olympics.
All three athletes took All-American status, and all three represented the club very well at the USATF Junior Olympics this summer.
On the girl’s side, there were plenty of outstanding vaulters that pole vaulted with us all summer long. Tamara Bader jumped a solid 11’ all summer long and took 1st place in her division for all qualifying rounds. Finished off the season working extremely hard after a long high school season. Long story short, she was pretty worn out after all the pole vaulting. Kaelyn McCann had just as good of summer jumping 11’ consistently and like Bader tied for 1st place at the Cal State games. Both ladies went to the Junior Olympics and jumped very well. Not as good as either of them wanted to of course, but we are very proud of them and what they have accomplished. Good job, ladies.
We also had Kiana Kain, Julia Burda, and Sierra Meier join us for the Junior Olympics and all three had some great jumps and had a strong showing. We are proud of all the three of the ladies and know that the future is looking very bright! Thank you for joining us, and we will see you on the next go around.
Once we returned from North Carolina, the team was back at work putting on our last meet for the summer. The meet was outstanding and a tremendous showing for the event. Plenty of people and fun to go around. The events get bigger and bigger each year. This fall will be the biggest yet with athletes from all over California.
To finish off the year, we had our team pictures and a trip to Disneyland with all the athletes that wanted to join the team. A fantastic time and an event that the kids and coaches will cherish forever. I can honestly say that this was the best event that our club has participated in. We will capstone our club with activities such as this from now on.
The kids and their family support was top notch this summer. We had so many outstanding volunteers and athletes that helped us put meets together, drive to meets, and prepare for team pictures and parties. I can’t say enough about these families that have given so much to our club and this program.
What’s next for the club? Well, we will continue to do what we do best. How do we know that it’s working? Well if you look at many of the clubs around us and some of the larger clubs from California to New York, other clubs are taking on our same methods, training October through January and then picking up high school in the spring. Now clubs are pole vaulting at meets in the fall that they usually did not participate in. We started this journey trying to improve the sport and it looks like we have done just that. When we started, it was discouraged that we started so early in the fall and now look around. So, there you go, it worked for us, and others have caught on, so we will continue to press forward with our efforts. It’s nice to see clubs in the area following our methods so that all the kids can benifit from these actions.
Until next time, vault safe and enjoy the jump!