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contents

september 2012 issue

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FROM THE EDITOR

30 Greg Duplantis Prepares Son for a Bright Future

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Mira Costa High School is a Shining Example of Teamwork

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SDSU Aztecs are All About Teamwork

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Elizabeth Parnov - Motivation is never Lacking

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A Little About A Lot About Speed

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Ron Morris: A True Vaulter for Life

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Photo by Stan Liu www.stanliuphotography.com

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FROM THE EDITOR This month’s issue of Vaulter Magazine goes back to basics. Our articles in this issue show the whole spectrum from what it was like in the beginning of pole vaulting to a young vaulter who is breaking records and on his way to success. It is important to get back to the roots of a sport to understand the changes and sacrifices others before you have had to face to make the sport what it is today. We hope reading our October magazine will give a new found respect of what pole vaulting and pole vaulters have been through to bring us what we know pole vaulting as today. Our article on Ron Morris will certainly bring to light the Ron Morris many changes pole vaulting has gone through. Morris sacrificed a lot to be able to compete in the Pole Vault and win his Olympic silver medal. This was through a time where athletic endorsements were not allowed in the Olympics. He also built a successful business from his closet. This pole vault veteran shows what hard work is all about and we hope you enjoy his story.

Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, California is our featured high school this month. Coach Murray Mead states that they focus on fundamentals, the basics of pole vaulting. Their program is doing quite well and the kids there have a lot of amazing opportunities. You will definitely want to read what’s going on for the Mustangs in Manhattan Beach.

Elizabeth Parnov is a female vaulter who has an extraordinary history with pole vaulting

in her family. She enjoys their support and finds motivating herself easy because of it. Young vaulters can learn a lot from reading about her accomplishments and philosophy. She is a very inspiring woman that will make anybody take notice.

The most unbelievable story of this issue is the article on Greg Duplantis and his son Mondo. Mondo is 12 years old and you won’t be able to put your brain around how high he is jumping and how effortless it is for him. This young man is going places and he’s one to watch. The father/ son bond between these Duplantis men is very heartwarming and adds some sentiment to the story, which has something in it for everybody. San Diego State University made it to our October cover, and once you read about all that is happening there you will know why. We talked to Volunteer Assistant Pole Vault Coach for SDSU, Rich Fox about their program. If any school knows what it’s like to go through change and experience the evolution of pole vaulting this one does. Coach Fox gave us detailed information on the SDSU vaulters, what their program has been through and what they are doing currently. This article is one great read.

We hope you enjoy getting back to basics in our October issue. Pole vaulting and pole vaulters have been through quite a journey and there is much more in store. We dare you not to leave these articles with a new found motivation and appreciation for this challenging and wonderful sport. Thank you for reading. Enjoy!

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Greg Duplantis Prepares Son, Mondo, for a Bright Future By: Michelle Walthall Greg Duplantis, coach and administrator of the Mardi Gras Track Club, based out of New Orleans, Louisiana, has managed to continue pole vaulting for the majority of his life. He has been passing his passion for the sport onto many others as well. Duplantis has helped many vaulters including his

I competed through my senior year at Lafayette High School. I jumped 16’6” as a sophomore in high school, 17’0” as a junior, and set national records of 17’10.5” (5.45 meters) and 17’11.75” (5.48 meters) as a senior. Although my collegiate career was hampered by many injuries, I did

own son, Mondo, who has shown an amazing gift for vaulting at a young age.

manage a personal best of 18’5.25” (5.62 meters). After college, I competed extensively on the Grand Prix circuit in Europe for approximately 8 years obtaining a personal best of 19’1/4” (5.80 meters). I loved to pole vault from my first day as a 6th grader until my last competition in the Olympic Trials in 1996. I now continue to be

Greg and Mondo Duplantis

“I started pole vaulting in 6th grade while attending Holy Cross High School in New Orleans,” says Duplantis. “My family later moved to Lafayette, Louisiana after my freshman year.

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involved in pole vaulting as a coach, dad and serve on the Reno Summit coaching staff.”

A love of pole vaulting has never been lacking for Duplantis through all of his years in the sport. And those who work with him should expect to have that same love and motivation. Duplantis says, “Staying motivated was never a problem for me from my first day vaulting to the last. Therefore, I don’t believe I would be much help for someone who is not.”

Confidence is just as necessary as loving a sport to an athlete. With as much experience as Duplantis has, young vaulters can learn a lot from what he has to say about how he gained his confidence: “I developed confidence as a young pole vaulter by doing the same thing that Mondo [my son] is doing now. I pole vaulted as often as possible. I don’t believe that there is any magical routine or technique from which the vaulter can gain experience and have confidence, except through pole vaulting. As a coach, I have tried to instill this same attitude in all of the vaulters that I coach” - a simple ‘practice makes perfect’ philosophy that any athlete can spect and stand behind.

“For me, jumping on longer and stiffer poles was a result of incremental improvements in speed, runway efficiency and technique,” says Duplantis when asked about how he was able to get to those longer, stiffer poles. His height increases through his career show that this method worked for him, and should be valuable to the athletes he coaches.

Mondo Duplantis

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Remembering athletes that have gone before is important to Duplantis. He sees value in learning from the history of vaulting. “My biggest influences in pole vaulting were the great pole vaulters of the past,” he says. “I am not just talking about the ones that were pole vaulting during my time, but ones that were long before me. I drew a lot of inspiration from pole vaulters such as Cornelius “Dutch” Warmerdan, Bob Richards, as well as so many of the early fiberglass era pole vaulters. I think it is a mistake for young pole vaulters today to study only the best of this era. They will be missing out on the evolution and development of the event.” We were able to get some additional great advice from this skilled pole vault veteran. In addition to learning from past vaulters, he also gave these words: “I think my primary recommendation for young vaulters is that in order to learn how to pole vault, you have to pole vault. I mostly ascribe to the ‘Earl Bell’ model of vaulting. That is, use the correct run distance, appropriate grip and pole flex and just let the vaulter go.” Avoiding information overload is also something Duplantis feels is important to young vaulters. “There appears to be a lot of information on the internet these days,” he says. “Much of which is very useful, but some is not accurate - and even if it is, there can be information overload. I don’t think anyone would agree that you can learn to read by pole vaulting. You can’t learn to pole vault just by reading about it. I also believe that there is no ‘perfect’ way to pole vault. All great pole vaulters run fast and strong, have their arms up high when the pole hits the back of the box, take off underneath their top hand and aggressively invert. After that, most of the vault is just style.” Duplantis is a father as well as a coach. Both

jobs come with difficulties, but he has been able to put those aside well and focus on the task at hand. He has also seemed to find a balance between father and coach as he coaches his children. Of course we would all like to know, how does he do it? He tells us this: “As all pole vaulters know, difficulties are frequent and plenty - probably too numerous to mention in such a short article. As a coach / father, I think my relationship with [my son] Mondo is pretty typical. There is always the difficulty of finding the appropriate balance between father and coach. I have also coached my oldest son, Andreas (PR 17’5.5”), who is now a sophomore at LSU. With Andreas, the relationship is very easy. Andreas is tough and brave and listens to my advice. Mondo has a bit more of an emotional and perfectionist personality. He is harder on himself and has more problems letting go of bad days than Andreas does. Therefore, when Mondo has a bad day, it is a bit more of a challenge than with Andreas.”

Coaching his children in pole vaulting takes up much of Duplantis’ time as a coach. His son Mondo, in particular, is showing great promise right now. They train together right at home. “We primarily vault at our home facility,” Duplantis says. “We have over 100 feet of elevated board runway with mondo rubber surface on top. We have fabricated standards made from old oilfield pipes and parts that go from 4 feet to 18’8”. We also have a collegiate-size vaulting pit.” Here is what Duplantis tells us about Mondo’s achievements as a vaulter so far:

“I think Mondo is a unique kid with many talents. Not only has he achieved a good deal of success in pole vaulting so far, he also excels at soccer and baseball. Mondo is a student

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of everything that he does, constantly trying to learn better ways to do things. Mondo is unique. He is a voracious reader. He loves to sing and will not be underdressed for any occasion. He does not mind being the most dressed up person in the room. I think a lot of people would be surprised at how little time Mondo has spent on pole vaulting in the last two years. I think his pole vaulting accomplishments have just begun.”

as coach and athlete,” he says. “Mondo started pole vaulting at about six years old. I believe he has tremendous natural talent both kinesthetically and physically for the event. From six years old until about ten years old, Mondo would jump almost every day in our backyard facility. Over the last couple of years, at the urging of my wife, Helena, and I, Mondo has been heavily involved in soccer and Mondo Duplantis

Now almost 13, Mondo has already shown impressive height in his pole vault career. Duplantis informed us that at 7 years old Mondo jumped 7’8”, at 8 years old 9’6”, at 9 years old 10’6”, at 10 years old 12’8”, at 11 years old 12’10” and at 12 years old 13’0.25”.

Heavy competition is definitely coming for Mondo, but for the time being he has kept it light. “Mondo had a total of two competitions when he was 11 years old and one competition when he was 12 years old,” says Duplantis. With marks like his we are certainly going to see more of this kid in the future. The relationship between Duplantis and his son is a special one. “I think Mondo and I have a really good father/ son relationship in general and

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given a great opportunity here. Mondo is also becoming a very well-rounded kid. He has many other interests in addition to pole vaulting. “Over the last several years, Mondo has competed in both recreational and travel soccer and baseball,” says Duplantis. “This past spring was Mondo’s last year as a little leaguer. He trained almost exclusively for baseball with very little, if any, pole vaulting. Mondo also likes to sing and is in his school’s choir.”

With his work as a coach/ father going so well, for Greg Duplantis things seem to be going well presently. But what does he have planned for the future? Admirably his future plans include hopes for his children and other vaulters he coaches.

baseball. He consequently has vaulted a lot less frequently. I have encouraged Mondo to develop his natural feel for the event as opposed to imposing any particular pole vaulting model on him. I think this will serve Mondo well in the future.” Any athlete would be fortunate to have this type of bond and teaching. Mondo is, for sure,

Duplantis tells us, “I coach several pole vaulters, in addition to my children. Of course, I would like to see them all improve. I always work on different ways to try to reach the particular athlete in order for them to reach their next milestone or breakthrough. As far as Mondo, I think his soccer and baseball playing days are winding down so that we can concentrate more on pole vaulting. I think when we do Mondo will see great improvement in his jumps.”


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Mira Costa High School

is a Shining Example of Teamwork By: Michelle Walthall Murray Mead, coach of the pole vault team for the Mira Costa High School Mustangs in Manhattan Beach, California, is very proud of his team. Of his vaulters he says, “I do not know of any group of kids who worked so hard and did so well as a team”.

The pride is evident as Coach Mead talks about his team’s efforts and some proud moments of this past season. When asked about his vaulters, this is what he had to say: “This year I had junior vaulters Reed Scale clear

Dan Golubovic, Reed Scale, Christian Ritchie, and Sean Griffin at the 2012 Bay League Championships

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14’11” and Sean Griffin clear 14’6” both in meets. Seniors Dan Golubovic cleared 14’9” and Christian Ritchie cleared 14’6” all in meets. Every one of them won first place at one time or another and [is] always supporting each other. [They are a] dream team. They


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swept every dual meet and 3 made it to the CIFSS finals, 4 made it thru the USATF Assoc Championships to qualify for the Regionals, went 1-2-3 in the Regionals and on to the Junior Olympics where Reed PR’d, Dan went 14’5 ½” and Sean 14’ in hot, humid Baltimore with a headwind and 63 competitors. I have a returning sr. girl who has gone 9’6” two years, an incoming sophomore who is jumping 10’ and an incoming junior who has a gymnastic background and shows a lot of promise. Fundamentals, fundamentals, fundamentals. We are the team with the best fundamental foundation and that is why we have been so successful.” The male and female vaulters with the highest jumps on the Mira Costa team are very impressive. Mead says, “Reed Scale and Dan Golubovic have both cleared 15’ over a crossbar in practice and Sean has had some almost attempts. Leora Tofler is clearing 10’ and she is only a sophomore.”

“At our dual meet against arch rival Redondo Union we swept the top 4 spots in the boys’ varsity division and they hand made a Mira Costa flag, taped it to a 15’9” Nordic Carbon that Dan jumps on and did a victory lap at Redondo’s track,” Coach Mead recalls. “During the

Christian Ritchie, Sean Griffin (on shoulders), Dan Golubovic, 2000 Olympic Trials Qualifier Luke Walker, Reed Scale at Cerritos College for the Junior Olympics Association Championships, all qualified for the Regionals

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early season I would sit out one of the top 4 each meet to allow one of my 2 13-footers to jump and every time they stepped up to the plate and jumped their best. I had four over 14’6” and two 13-footers who would have been the stars at any of the other schools in our league.”

With heights and successes like these it’s no wonder Coach Mead speaks so highly of his team. No doubt his experience and leadership have a hand in it as well. Coach Mead has been involved in track and field and sports for a long time and his passion has stayed strong. Here is a little bit of what he told us

about his history:

“I was my Pop Warner football team captain, JV HS football team captain, varsity x country and track team captain and PE senior leader. [I] spent 30 years in the new car dealership service department and for the last 15 yrs of that was in charge of training new employees. [I] started coaching at Santa Ana College [for] 1 year then [went] to El Camino College [for] 1 year then off to Mira Costa for the last 6 years.”

Mead has put his experience to good use with not only his own vaulters, but other vaulters

Coach Mead, 2 weeks ago, 58 years old

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around him. He works to spread his passion for the sport in his community. “In the South Bay we have several schools that have a stable consistent program with coaches who have been pole vaulters themselves and are passionate about it,” Coach Mead says. “We have a few who have caught the passion recently and made some big improvements in the last 2 years, but also have about half of the schools that do not show much interest in the vault. I have been helping some of the kids from these schools in the off season as they have nowhere to train or no coach to help.”

Dan Golubovic winning JO Regionals, also won high jump


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A passion for teamwork also fuels the success in Honolulu,” Mead also tells us. “They pay my of the Mira Costa vaulters. Coach Mead says, “I air fare and I donate my time and expertise to have been pole vaulting since 1968 and learned give back to the community that I still love and how to do it with very little help. I have been promote the vault. I won the State Meet and set averaging 25 vaulters and most of them have been the record in 1972 and still have the OIH East friends or siblings of other vaulters. I had 3 sisters record after all these years. I learned a wonderful and quite a few brother/sister, brother/brother thing living in Hawaii called Kokua, which means teams. I learned in the car business to teach to help others. I try to pass this on to others.” teamwork and this helps me tremendously. I pass the responsibility to each member of the team The passion Mead has for vaulting and his on a daily basis so everyone gets to participate athletes does not go unnoticed. The vaulters who and learns train under Golubovic, Scale, Griffin, and Coach Mead at him leadership return the 2012 National Junior Olympics, Baltimore the favor for skills that will help them in their coach. “… the future. during the off I demand season I jump the other competitively members in as many all work together comers meets and show as I can find respect for and several the others no of my kids matter what also attend their level or them so even experience if I have a bad and it works day someone wonderfully.” on the team always steps E v e r y up and makes vaulter who it a good day wants to learn is important to Coach Mead and so the coach has a smile,” Coach Mead says. giving back to the area he is from is another way he spreads his passion for the sport. “In the past I Not only do the kids show up for him, but have had a couple of kids try some of the big club Mead’s vaulters also return the favor of his hard clinics and come back and tell me that it was a work by exceeding his expectations. He told us, waste of time because all they did was stand in “When these kids showed up to try out for the line and wait for a turn to vault and did not get vault I had no idea that they all would mow thru any fundamental or enabling training,” he says. my poles and leave me in the dust!” “I coach year round and every year I go back home to Hawaii to do a coaches/vaulters clinic at my alma mater Roosevelt High School

And the vaulters aren’t the only ones pitching in and keeping the teamwork going. In addition to the nine other track and field coaches that

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work with Mead he says, “I have several parents and a couple of previous graduates who help out with the meets and record keeping and notifying the other parents of our needs and keeping a line to the boosters.”

Equipment is provided by group effort as well. “One of the fathers bought the pipes and cement and I put in a nice

set of high bars to use. We have a sled, Ontrack pv slide box, rectangular cardboard box, spongy bars, mini hurdles and a heavy wooden push sled, dumbbells and a barbell along with a 4k med ball,” says Mead.

Of also pole “We

course financial help is important to keep the vault going. Mead says, are entirely funded by

the Manhattan Beach Athletic Foundation and get some sponsorship from Ontrack and Field owner Ron Morris.”

The Mustang vaulters, along with their coach, also get the benefit of the knowledge of some great vaulters. Coach Mead told us, “I personally have been to and learned a lot from Anthony Curran, Luke Walker and used to train with Brooks Morris at Oxy College and began coaching Andy Stebbins’ son while he was in the 9th grade. His dad asked me if I would help him as they were having the teenage son thing and he ended up in the State Meet his final 2 years. We also have Mike Landers who graduated from UCLA, Zach Miller from UCLA and Brandon Estrada from UCLA. I try to expose my kids to some of the top vaulters so they can learn from them as do I.”

Thanks to Coach Mead, his leadership and his helpful peers and community who share his passion, Mira Costa is an inspirational place for young vaulters to grow and find their potential. Great things are sure to come from this school that has become a wonderful example of what teamwork is about. Sean Griffin, my double leg swinging Daily Breeze All-Area Pole Vaulter

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Holly Waseloff clearing 13’ 0 ¼”

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SDSU Aztecs are All About Teamwork By: Michelle Walthall San Diego State University in San Diego, California, home of the Aztecs, has some exciting things going on with their vaulting program. Volunteer Assistant Pole Vault Coach Rich Fox gave us an in-depth look at his experience, the vaulters he has worked with, the SDSU vaulting program and how the team is doing and what makes their team work so well. We first asked Coach Fox about his background as a university coach and how long he has been coaching. He certainly has trained his share of fine athletes and has the goods to make a successful team. Here’s a detailed look at what he has accomplished: “I am entering my 18th year coaching at SDSU. I started working with the pole vaulters in 1996, two years before it became an NCAA sport. My first athlete was Kristi Draher in 1996. In California, the pole vault became an event in 1995 and I knew I would be getting an athlete, Kristi Draher, in 1996. She had taken 2nd place behind Melissa Price (Fresno State alumni) at the California State Championships in 1995. Kristi Draher took 3rd place at the 1995 USATF Championships behind Melissa Price and Stacy Draglia, a year leading into the 1996 Atlanta Olympics.” Pole vaulting really took off at SDSU with Coach Fox’s help. He says, “In 1996, we had no poles. Our men’s team had been cut in 1993 and there had not been a pole vaulter at SDSU in 3

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years. I bought Kristi Draher one pole because it was not an NCAA sport at the time and we didn’t have a budget for poles. I remember when Aimee Crabtree vaulted for me in 1999. She was a much different size than Draher and I had to buy her a new pole because the three we had didn’t fit her. Aimee Crabtree and I went to the NCAA Championships with one pole. Crabtree hit each of her vaults with first attempt clearances and placed 7th in Boise State at the 1999 NCAA Championships.” “The next year I had a new freshman, Alexa Harz, come in and then things really took off for us. The men’s team alumni really rallied and started buying poles for us. With an AllAmerican, Aimee Crabtree, and the National HS record holder, freshman, Alexa Harz, we had a strong team. I redshirted both for the college season in anticipation of the first Olympic Games. Kelsy Hintz San Diego State


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They both competed at the Olympic Trials in Sacramento, CA and both jumped 13’ 8 ¼” in the finals. Alexa placed 5th and Aimee took 8th place.”

Bagan also had a great NCAA Championship battle in 2009 in Drake, Iowa against Cal Berkeley’s Katie Morgan. They again tied for first place and Bagan came in as the NCAA Runner-up in a tie breaker.”

“Our recruiting took off from that point. The new 2001 National HS record holder, Shayla Balentine, came in and

Women vaulters especially have lots of opportunity at

pole vault, I have coached every pole vaulter at SDSU. During this time we have had a lot of overall success at both the conference and NCAA level. Combined for indoor and outdoor, SDSU has produced 15 Conference Champions, SDSU pole vault athletes have scored 71 times at the Mountain West

led our team for the next four years. She had an amazing battle at the NCAA Championships in Sacramento, CA tying UW’s Kate Soma for first place, coming in as the NCAA runner up in a tie breaker. From there, Stephanie Bagan came in after Balentine.

SDSU and Coach Fox has been a big part of that as well. “We have a Women’s only team here at SDSU,” Says Fox. “This has its pluses and minuses. For those women who come here, there have been many pluses. During the tenure of women’s

Conference Championships, the SDSU pole vault women have competed at the NCAA Championships 51 times with 5 different women (Aimee Crabtree, Shayla Balentine, Erin Asay, Stephanie Bagan-James, and Kelsy Hintz) earning All Ameri-

Carrington Mahr (HJ), Karen Snapper, Kristen Brown, Kelsy Hintz, Holly Waseloff, Thresa Vinson, Rebecca Turnbow

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Karen Snapper, Kristen Brown, Kelsyoctober Hintz, Holly Waseloff, 2012 issue Rebecca Turnbow, Thresa Vinson www.thevaultermag.com

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can certificates while scoring at the NCAA’s.”

It has definitely been an exciting coaching run for Coach Fox, and it looks like there is more to look forward to. And he has good company to help him keep going. Here’s what he tells us about his support team of coaches on the track and field team:

“[We have] one pole vault coach - 3 coaches on staff for the women’s team. Head Coach Shelia Burrell leads our team. We have a throws coach and a sprint/hurdles coach. Our distance coach is a volunteer also.” “I work with the Head Coach Shelia Burrell, a UCLA Alumnus. As a two-time Olympian, she brings many core values to our successful program. Coach Burrell has the tools, knowledge and energy to take our athletes to the next level. We work closely with the pole vaulters. Coach Burrell has designed their sprint work outs and their weight lifting work outs.”

As is a must for any athletic program, there is also good equipment and amazing practice conditions at SDSU according to Coach Fox: “We use Gill Athletic - Pacer poles exclusively. Our pole vaulters jump on Carbon FX

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Mystic poles. All four of the SDSU pole vaulters who have cleared 14’ have accomplished this feat on a 13’ 6” Pacer FX Carbon Mystic pole.”

“Our program here has approximately 100 women’s pole vaulting poles. We believe in small incremental changes to build the greatest amount of confidence when changing poles. We have lengths from 12’-6” to 14’-6”. We increase our pole size every 2.5 pounds (0.5 flex amount).”

“We have two runways, two pits and a great tailwind. We practice outside all year long. With the Southern California weather, we have an incredible ocean breeze from the west pushing us down the mondo runway.” While it is great that the Aztec vaulters have an experienced and dedicated coaching staff and a wonderful place to practice with top equipment, Coach Fox and his team realize the importance of learning from the best in the sport. Fox says that they get help and support from some superior athletes to supplement the training of the SDSU track and field staff: “We do not have a specific elite athlete who trains with us, but we do have the Olympic Training Center here in San

Diego. This has offered us a tremendous advantage because the elite athletes who train here over the years have become friends with the SDSU pole vault team. We do include them as a member of the pole vault family to join us in many activities.”


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Holly Waseloff and Kelsy Hintz

“To mention a few who have come to be close friends with the program, Stacy Dragila has had a great impact on our program from both a psychological [and] technical aspect. To be able to reach out to Stacy and get immediate feedback has been priceless.” “When Toby Stevenson and Tim Mack were

living down here training for the 2004 Athens Games, we benefited from seeing their hard work, technical growth and mental preparation. Toby and Tim have become good friends of the program and helped us with many facets of our training. In particular, they implemented our gymnastics training that we continue to use.”

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“Our current elite athlete, Brad Walker, has also become a friend of the program and is a great resource for bouncing ideas off for training and technique. Having a good friend in Brad who is so vested in the pole vault is immeasurable.” “I cannot begin to tell you how much I value Stacy, Toby, Tim and Brad. They have been phenomenal in…the way they interact with the student athletes, the philosophies

they have relayed to us, their technical knowledge and their great insight into the psychological profile of a pole vaulter.”

In addition to amazing vaulters, some great coaches also offer help to SDSU vaulters. Coach Fox tells us, “The two coaches who have had the largest impact on me and mentored me the most and overall assisted our program are former Cal Poly San Luis

Obispo pole vault coach and Olympic Bronze medalist, Jan Johnson and UCLA’s pole vault coach, Anthony Curran. The two of them over the last 25 years have had a tremendous impact on our program. Dating back to when I was in high school in the 1980’s into my college vaulting career, they have been selfless in their assistance with many facets of our development [and] my growth as an athlete and a coach.”

Holly Waseloff, Heather Arseneau, Marie Brown, Kelsie Jarratt, Kim Stamos, Moriah Roberge, Kelsy Hintz and Katie Vo

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“One example [is] Jan Johnson [who] loaned us over 15 poles in 2001 to help us with our incoming freshman, Shayla Balentine and Monica Pacas. I have attended many of Jan’s camps and learned so much from him, his imprint on our program has run deep. The ability to call Jan Johnson and pick his brain about individual athletes or overall program development has enhanced our success.”

Friendly competition and respect for other athletes also goes a long way in motivating Fox’s vaulters to be better. “With Anthony Curran and UCLA there is no single program in America with greater women’s pole vaulting success,” says Fox. “Curran has become a good friend and his program has driven us to be better. Our goal every year is to beat UCLA. They are our primary rivals. But with great competition, comes great success. Many of our PR’s have come when vaulting against UCLA. We see each other at many meets throughout the year and they are a motivating factor with our ladies. Our program is modeled after UCLA in many areas…training, our technique and our philosophies have blended UCLA’s attitude of success and winning traditions. Anthony Curran’s imprint can be found in the SDSU Aztecs pole vault program.”

The combination of coaching, facilities and equipment and help from top athletes would be for nothing without talented vaulters joining the program. This year looks to shape up well for the Aztec vaulters. Some impressive jumpers are looking very promising. Fox says the SDSU pole vault team shapes up like this:

“For the 2013 season, I have 6 pole vaulters,” says Coach Fox. “Senior, Kelsy Hintz (PR – 14’0”, MWC Champion indoor and outdoor, NCAA All American, from Crescent City, CA), Junior, Holly Waseloff (PR – 13’-0”, MWC Champion outdoor, 24th at NCAA West Regional’s, Clovis, CA), Sophomore, Kristen Brown (PR – 13’-5 ¾ ”, Owings Mills, MD, transfer from Virginia Tech), Sophomore, Rebecca Turnbow (PR 12’-0”, Lake Tapps, WA), Freshman, Thresa Vinson (PR 11’-9”, Aptos, CA), Freshman, Karen Snapper (PR 12’-0”, Huntington Beach, CA).” “Our 2013 SDSU Team Captain is Kelsy Hintz. She has earned her title of team captain through hard work and being a disciplined student athlete. Hintz has been a consistent competitor in big meets and is still reaching her potential. I believe she will have big improvements this year as both a leader on the team and role model in practice.” Junior,

Holly Waseloff will bring NCAA Championship experience, having placed 24th at the University of Texas, NCAA West Regional Championships in 2012. And Virginia Tech transfer, Kristen Brown, brings a wealth of athletic talent and positive motivation. There are two young talented freshman in Thresa Vinson and Karen Snapper who will be vying to challenge for a scoring spot in the MWC Championships. Past Vaulters for SDSU have also made Coach Fox and the Aztec name proud. The reputation has remained strong and many talented vaulters have paved the way for SDSU’s success in pole vault. He says this of the alumni vaulters that have made a mark: “Our alumni on the Women’s side have had athletic success at the USATF Championships in the last 18 years. We have sent 6 athletes on to compete at the USATF Championships. There one of our alumni, Erin Asay, vaulted 4.60m, 15’-1”, which still stands as a top 10 All Time American mark for women and is above the current ‘A’ standard.” The person an athlete becomes is just as important to Coach Fox, which is another reason his athletes do so well. He says, “In my opinion,

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the greatest success from our alumni is the unbelievably good people they have become. Our student athletes grow as individuals and go on to contribute as good citizens in our community. Our alumni are now moms, wives and successful business women and community leaders. I love attending the weddings, birth celebrations and job successes of our alumni.” “SDSU women’s track is in NCAA Division I, Mountain West Conference,” Coach Fox says of their division and competition. “Our conference is historically among one of the best in the nation. We have one of the best pole vault coaches around in Scotty Steffan at the Air Force Academy and New Mexico in our conference, which regularly has NCAA qualifiers. Up until last year, we had BYU in our conference which also put athletes in the NCAA Championships on a yearly basis.” Coach Fox’s athletes are not lacking for training time or ways to stay in shape and up their game either. The Aztec vaulters are kept on a busy schedule by Coach Fox, and they have plenty of activities to keep them wellbonded as a team and motivated for success. “During the summer, we give our pole vaulters a summer work out plan,” says Coach Fox. “They do these work outs on their own. When they return to school, we give them a couple weeks to get settled in and then we start our fall preseason program in September. Our first meet is an intersquad meet on the first Saturday of December.

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We compete indoors, usually about 4 meets, which is in late January and through February. Our outdoor season runs from March through June.”

“I get with our team captain each summer and we plan out particular team bonding events for the fall and spring semesters. We have these formal team bonding events, such as hiking out to the Devil’s Punch Bowl and cliff jumping into the ocean waters. Our pole vault alumni dinner in October is our biggest event. Each year in October, we have a dinner party where we invite our alumni back. At the dinner party, we introduce the squad for the year. Kelsy Hintz clearing 13’ 10” The athletes get an opportunity to talk about themselves and tell the alumni why they chose to come to SDSU or, for the veterans, what they have valued about being at SDSU. The alumni get a chance to see the progress that has come along since they graduated. This event is open to both men and women of the SDSU track and field pole vault program. We provide dinner, drinks and a great atmosphere. Each event has a different theme. The true goal is to bring different generations together and bring the common theme of pole vaulting for the SDSU Aztecs.” “One of the special trips we take each year is a pole vault only track meet. Our head coach is fantastic in her support. Shelia Burrell truly believes in the pole vault and has a vested interest in the success of this event. Each year, we take a van to a meet with the pole vaulters.


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We have gone to the Reno Pole Vault Summit over 10 different years. During other years we have taken indoor trips to Northern Arizona University. We are a part of a larger team and contributing to the overall success, but we make special weekends to bring the pole vaulters together.” “In this sport, where a pole vault competition can last over 4 hours, you need a tight, close team. The camaraderie and support you gather is contagious. Our teammates thrive off each other and their

success is infectious bringing more success to others.”

This university team at SDSU is a wonderful program to be a part of. For those dreaming of joining, here is what Coach Fox says about what vaulters must have to be considered for the Aztec pole vauting team:

“They must perform well at championship competitions. We can develop athletes physically, improve their technique and make them stronger, faster and better. But the area I find that comes from within is the

great competitors know how to compete coming out of high school. They have the ability to rise to the occasion and compete well under pressure at big meets.” It will be worthwhile for pole vault competitors and fans to keep an eye on SDSU this year. Coach Fox and his team are doing a wonderful job and should surely have continued success. http://goaztecs.cstv.com/ sports/w-track/sdsu-w-trackbody.html

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VAULTER

MAGAZINE Scott Greenman Clovis

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Crossbar Ends

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Midstep Marker Coaches can view from a distance the exact position of their vaulters midsteps leading to the plant. Comes in either 31-39 or 41-49. You can order both (shown) and have a full length displayed. 4” numbers.

An excellent substitution for crossbars and the perfect training tool to teach form, build confidence, and save time.

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“The Motivation is never Lacking,”

says Elizabeth Parnov By: Michelle Walthall “To be honest there aren’t many difficulties that I have had to face and really worry about,” says Elizabeth Parnov, 2012 Olympic competitor for Australia. “I feel very blessed to have such a supportive family that understands how hard it is and will always help me out if need be. Socially my friends all know what my goals and dreams are so they understand and are behind me 100%... I started university this year and the team at the Western Australian Institute of Sport and Murdoch University have worked really hard together to put up a program and schedule that fits in with training.” Parnov has had good fortune in her career, but this year she did have a little scare going into the Olympics. She says, “2012 started off really well for me. I jumped a PB of 450 [4.50m] in the Australian domestic season which gave me a huge confidence boost for the European season. Then unfortunately I received a small tear in my quad after just arriving in Europe. This put question marks not only around the Olympics,

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but also the World Junior Champs which I had in 3 weeks time. Somehow I managed to get everything together and recover just in time with the help of an amazing medical staff to collect a silver medal at the World Juniors and to be a part of the Olympic Games.”

Liz Parnov from Australia celebrates silver medal in pole vault competition on the 2012 IAAF World Junior Athletics Championships on July 14, 2012 in Barcelona, Spain

With the pole vault being such a big part of her family, it makes sense that Parnov is able to have such success. In her bio at london2012.olympics.com. au/athlete/elizabethparnov it says, “…she is the daughter of pole vault guru Alex Parnov - coach of world, Olympic, world indoor and Commonwealth Games champion Steve Hooker. The Parnovs moved from Russia to Australia in 1996 and now Alex coaches Australia’s full Olympic pole vault contingent - Liz, Steve and Alana Boyd in Perth.” In addition to her father, who is now and has always been her coach, her bio also says, “Parnov’s aunt is pole vault Olympic silver medallist Tatiana Grigorieva and her grandmother is Natalie Tchistiakova who won Olympic bronze for the USSR in the women’s 400m at the 1968 Games. Her sister Vicky also competed in pole vault, competing at the 2006 Commonwealth Games”. Here’s what Parnov has to say about her start in pole vaulting: “Well I started roughly when I was 7 years old. My older sister Vicky was 10 at the time and after the Sydney 2000 Olympics

she decided she wanted to start pole vaulting at the time, with my father being the nation coach at the time and myself being her little sister I just got dragged along to the sessions and played in the sand box! But eventually I started joining in and it all kind of happened from there.”

Parnov’s family has, and continues to be, a great influence and support for her on top of laying out the foundation for her love of vaulting. When asked about her biggest influence in pole vaulting she says, “I think my family to be honest, especially my dad. As he is also my coach we have such a strong relationship and a bond like no other. I feel really blessed to have my father as my coach.” As far as support and keeping up her confidence, Parnov says, “I think just the understanding of how demanding such an event can be is re-

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ally what helps. All my loved ones know how hard I work and how much I want to be the best so they appreciate this and want me to achieve my dreams.” But family support is not the only way Parnov keeps up her confidence. Preparation also has a lot to do with it. She tells us, “Like they all say I believe that practice will eventually make perfect! Also being able to have a high quantity of good quality jumps is important to gain confidence in yourself and really cement your technique so when you’re on the field you are unbreakable.”

Amazingly Parnov’s motivation to keep up the practice and preparation just comes naturally. When asked where her motivation comes from she just laughs and says, “I actually don’t know! I think because I’ve been doing it since such a young age [it] is just the way I live now. I couldn’t imagine not pole vaulting and I love it so much that the motivation is never lacking!” Parnov also has a great facility to train. “I live and train in Perth, Western Australia,” she says. “Most of the time we are training at the Western Australian Institute of Sport, and we recently were lucky enough to train during the year in an indoor facility built

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precisely for pole vault. The facility is amazing!!” She also stays competing and says, “I compete for UWA, a club in Perth and also for my institute when competing around Australia.”


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With as much family support, preparation and success as Parnov has, she is a vaulter worth looking up to. And this motivated athlete has some sound advice for other vaulters. This is what she had to say about what helps her jump on longer

and stiffer poles: “I believe it is all the parts of the jump - the run, the take off and the upside down. To have an aggressive jump that will push you onto bigger poles you need to be active in all 3 parts to get the most productive outcome.”

Yelena Isinbayeva presents the medals to Elizabeth Parnov of Australia silver, Angelica Bengtsson gold and Ganna Shelekh of the Ukraine bronze after the Girls Pole Vault Final A on day seven of the Singapore 2010 Youth Olympics

 For vaulters who are just starting out Parnov has this advice: “You don’t have to be amazing at any event in particular if you are coming from little athletics to give pole vault a go, as it has so many layers and different elements in the whole jump. You just can’t be afraid of heights!!” So how has life changed for Parnov since competing in the 2012 Olympics? She says, “I wouldn’t say that it’s my life that has changed but more so my outlook on sport and mentally as an athlete I think I have grown a lot over the past couple of months.” 

“At the moment I’m studying media and communications [at] university so I’d really love to get my degree and eventually get into that field of work once my career is finished,” Parnov says of her future plans. Maybe it’s not all about pole vaulting for her, but her talent speaks for itself and we hope to see more from her soon.

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A Little About A Lot About Speed By: Bubba Sparks

I am asked about running and running workouts more than any other subject. When to do them, what to do, etc. All factors being equal the fastest usually jumps higher. Here are a few things I have learned along the way that you may find useful.

My philosophy is that, just like you always need to be doing something vault related, you always need to stay in touch with speed. I try to remain within “striking distance” (4-8 weeks) of a decent jump all year long. It reminds you why you train and helps keep you focused. I’ll talk about specific uses of these two charts in a moment but for now, leave it that I try to get two speed days per week (on vaulting days) and two speed endurance days per week (on vault drill days). In the offseason I will ride my bike up a steep hill for 15 minutes on my non-running days. The first rule is very hard to believe but it has proven itself many times over. IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW FAST YOU RUN

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DURING SPEED WORK! You need to run with perfect form and posture. At first you cannot do this very well or for very long, so you may find yourself running rhythmical reps at 4060% effort. That’s fine, just do it right. Pay special attention to you sprint drills. These are very popular but if you ever find yourself leaning forward or backward, or in a position you would not normally run in, then you are setting yourself back. You will get better MUCH faster

with this approach then trying to run fast.

Both my speed and speed endurance programs are 14 weeks in length. I will repeat the cycle 2-3 times in a training year. For example, I may run the first seven weeks for posture and speed, run the next 7 weeks with a light sled. Then repeat the cycle with 7 weeks with a heavy pole, followed by 7 weeks with a heavy pole and a sled. Bubba Sparks


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TEST – I did this program and timed every repetition for 14 weeks. I was surprised at how little I progressed toward my expectation. My coach challenged me to run correctly, even if it meant running at 50-70% and then time again after 14 weeks. I even did a simple walk back as my rest rather than waiting three minutes between sets and reps. Suddenly I was a whole lot faster, even though I had run slower in training. I don’t truly get it but I’ve done this with ton of athletes over the years and it works. NOW – when you get to the true elite level, then you can run lots of flying 20ms through a

speed trap like Jeff Hartwig loved. He even had a sled he called the “Dragster” that not only held weight but had bungees that tried to pull you down toward the ground while you run. But don’t move on until you get the most out of the level you are at. Before the speed workout I run 800m striding the straights and jogging the curves, followed by 800m of striding the straights and walking the curves, sprint drills, vault and then run. Here is the 14 week speed part created by the great sports scientist Jim Hiserman.

WEEK #

SET #1

 SET #2

 SET #3

TOTAL / VOLUME

1

3X30

2X30, 1X40

280/LIGHT

2

4X30

1X20, 2X40

1X20,30,40 1X20,30,40

300/MEDIUM

3

5X30

1X30, 2X40

1X20, 30, 40

4

3X20

1X20, 30, 40

270/RECOVERY

5

4X20

3X40

340/HEAVY

4X40

2X40

310/LIGHT

6

5X20

2X40, 1X50

1X30, 2X40

340/MEDIUM

7

3X40

1X30, 2X50

1X40, 2X30, 20

370/HEAVY

8

3X30

1X30, 2X40

1X40, 2X20

280/RECOVERY

9

5X30

1X40, 2X50

1X20, 30, 20

360/LIGHT

10

3X50

2X40, 1X60

3X30, 1X20

400/MEDIUM

11

4X50

1X40, 50, 60

2X20, 1X40

430/HEAVY

12

3X30

2X20, 1X30

3X40

280/RECOVERY

13

3X60

2X40, 1X50

2X40, 1X20

410/LIGHT

14

3X60

3X50

3X30

420/MEDIUM

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The speed endurance part was created by my longtime coach, the great Kris Allison of Lone Star PV in New Braunfels, Texas. Before this run day I do 400m of striding the straights and jogging the curves, followed by 400m of striding the straights and walking the curves. The sprint drill WEEK #

SET #1

 SET #2

 SET #3

TOTAL / VOLUME

1

3X200

2X150

1X100

1000/LIGHT

2

3X200

3X150

2X100

1250/MEDIUM

3

3X200

4X150

3X100

1500/HEAVY

4

1X200

1X100

450/RECOVERY

5

2X200

1X150

3X150

2X100

1050/LIGHT

6

2X200

4X150

3X100

1300/MEDIUM

7

2X200

5X150

4X100

1550/HEAVY

8

1X200

2X150

1X100

600/RECOVERY

9

1X200

2X150

6X100

1100/LIGHT

10

1X200

3X150

7X100

1350/MEDIUM

11

1X200

3X100

4X80

1600/HEAVY

12

1X150

1X100

2X80

410/RECOVERY

13

2x150

3X100

4X80

920/LIGHT

14

2X150

5X100

5X80

1200/MEDIUM

This year I will get through three of these 14 week cycles as I prepare for the World Masters Games in Turin, Italy next August and the World Masters Athletics in Brazil in October of 2013. I will turn

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series uses the heavy pole. Not much magic here except that I try and maintain good form, posture and an effortless line of force. Line of force? Stand upright and slowly lean forward. At some point your body will break into a run to keep from falling. Find and hold that effortless line of force.

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60 right before the Italy meet. If an old guy can do this, I’m guessing you can really do it well. All the best to you and have fun jumping higher!!


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Madison Mills

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Ron Morris: A True Vaulter for Life By: Michelle Walthall Ron Morris, the 1960 Olympic pole vault silver serving in the National Guard and the military he medalist, has kept his love for pole vaulting strong managed to become the AAU pole vault champion all these years. The love he has for the sport is in 1958, 1961, and 1962 and finish fourth at the evident as his office is a pole vault sanctuary of 1959 Pan American Games (says sports-reference. memorabilia and history. Since setting a national com). Morris also managed to jump 15’8” on a high school record of 13”-11½” in 1953 (according steel pole in 1961 and jump his first 16’ vault at to sports-reference.com) he has kept vaulting in the National Championships at Mt. SAC in 1962. his life in one way or another. All this, and we haven’t even After high school Morris went Ron Morris Olympic Silver on to college and continued in Medalist 1960 mentioned his teaching career. He tried his hand at teaching the sport and never left it. His high school for a while when story and the changes he has he was finished with the seen are pretty incredible. military, but then Morris took a job as a teacher and assistant “I went to USC on a track and field coach at Cal scholarship that paid my State LA (back then called LA tuition, of course then it was State College). All the while $18 a unit. I had a little onhe continued competing until campus job that I made $75 a he retired from jumping in month and out of that $75 a 1966. In 1967 he became the month I lived,” Morris told us. head coach for 7 or 8 years “That was ’53 through ’57. I until he turned over the head stayed I got a bachelors degree coaching job to his assistant. Of in physical education in ’57 course he could not stay away and stayed and got my masters from vaulting completely so degree in education in ’58. through his years there Morris Then I went in the military.” continued to help out the team. He stayed at Cal Morris tells us he joined the National Guard in 1958 to keep from being drafted in the middle of State LA until he retired as a teacher in 1998. his master’s program. He says he was able to finish Currently Morris has a business called On Track out his masters and was set to go to basic training right then, but was amazingly allowed to be put on (ontrackandfield.com) based out of Burbank, CA leave and postpone his basic training and duties which sells track and field equipment, accessories, until after he returned from the Soviet meet he clothing, DVDs etc. He says he sold his first pole in 1978 and grew the business slowly until it competed in for the United States in 1962. blossomed into what it is today and continues to The impressive part of this span of time for reach the needs and passions of vaulters all over. Morris is that in addition to getting his education, Morris truly is a vaulter for life. receiving a silver medal in the 1960 Olympics and

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Sharon Ann Ourso

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October 2012 Vaulter Magazine  

October issue of VAULTER Magazine with San Diego State University on the front

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