Eastern pole vaulters sail in the water

Eastern pole vaulters sail in the water

By Amye Ellsworth, Senior Reporter


The pole vaulters at Eastern practice indoors, outdoors and in the swimming pool.

The vaulters practice this way using a long pole that extends into the bottom of the pool. One teammate will sit on the diving board and hold the pole while the other dives into the water and simulates the process of pole vaulting.

Freshman Anandae Clark and senior Amber Troyer have conflicting opinions on the usefulness of using the pool for training. Clark likes the process because it allows her to slow down her movements and focus on her form. Troyer is less convinced, although she does think pole vaulting underwater is helpful for building muscle memory.

“It is helpful because you can think it through. But when you’re in the air, it’s not that slow, so I don’t know how well it transfers over.” Troyer said.

Both Troyer and Clark had difficult paths to becoming pole vaulters. Troyer remembers first wanting to pole vault while watching the Olympics with her family.

“I told my grandma that I was going to pole vault someday, and she told me that girls are not allowed to pole vault,” Troyer said. “Then I was really determined that I would try it.”

Troyer started pole vaulting her freshman year of high school, and she was determined to compete at a college level.

She contacted pole vault coach Eric Allison when she graduated high school, asking for a spot on the team. Allison told her she needed to improve on her heights, so Troyer went to the community college level to compete. After bringing up her statistics, Allison offered Troyer a place on the team.

Troyer currently has the seventh best indoor and eighth best outdoor vaults at Eastern from her heights last season.

“I got in a car accident right before winter season, so I’ve been trying to get back into things. I’m feeling really good, so hopefully I’ll start improving.” Troyer said.

In contrast to Troyer, Clark was more reluctant to start pole vaulting.

“I did gymnastics all my life and I never really considered doing track at all,” she said.

It was her high school math teacher and pole vaulting coach that finally convinced her to try. She started her freshman year of high school and won state that year, but she said she initially did not like pole vaulting.

“I didn’t really like it. I was more into gymnastics, but I stuck with it into my sophomore year,” she said.

Between her sophomore and junior years, Clark got injured in gymnastics and had to take a break. When she went back to do some of her moves again, she realized she was being tentative because she did not want to her hurt herself before track season. Clark said that was the moment she decided to switch to pole vaulting.

Although it is only her freshman year, Clark has already proven her ability to compete at the college level by winning the Dusty Lane Invitational on March 16.

Clark and Troyer will next vault at the regional qualifiers in Las Vegas on April 12 through the 13.

“I try and bear in mind that I’m a freshman, but regionals is my ultimate goal.” Clark said.