Lamar Pole Vaulters Struggle to Get off the Ground


Pole vaulter holding his pole

Here at Lamar we have approximately 17 sports, all mostly sports that you traditionally see depicted with cinematic intensity and fervor whether in the news or on film. But one sport that does not get a film starring Denzel Washington as an inspiring coach, or a huge fan following, or, in the case of our school, the means to even play the sport is pole vaulting. The school’s pole vaulting team has sat dormant all year without equipment, mostly without a coach and without members.

Catalina Contreras, a junior on the team put the problem in simple terms.

“We don’t have poles. So the pole vaulting coach last year had to rent out the poles and obviously took them with him whenever he left, so now we don’t have any poles,” Contreras said.

And poles aren’t the only thing that that team is short on, as they are lacking in members willing to play the sport. 

“I know of at least two others, and the lack of membership isn’t very likely to improve,” sophomore Taylor Lafitte said. “When we get the poles I don’t think the pole vaulting team will get popular, last year there were not many people. I think it was two people in the pole vaulting section of track”  

Contreras feels similarly and echoes the same sentiment. 

“Considering how unpopular the team was last year when we did have poles I don’t think it’ll make much of a difference,” Contreras said.

But the two of them pay it no mind, as Lafitte remarked on the benefits of an intimate team.  

“I don’t care how few people are on the team, I also run cross country and the team there is small and there is something more inspiring and more exciting about having a smaller group that you can be closer with rather than a lot of people you don’t really know,” Lafitte said.

Contreras agrees but with a caveat.

“I actually prefer to have a tight knit team just because I feel like you could get closer to each other and I guess help each other grow in a sense but obviously it would be good to have more people join the team,” Contreras said.

Some ideas are now being thrown around to try to recruit more team members. “I think to get more people interested in pole vaulting we can do a lot more advertising and just talk to people about it to see if that’s what they’re interested in, because some people are strong and just don’t know that that’s a sport that they can play,” Lafitte said.

Contreras contributed a similar idea. 

“I think we can maybe make more announcements,  to get the word out there that we have a pole vaulting team,” Contreras said.

Lafitte and Contreras both have rationales for why the pole vaulting team is in this state. 

“I think that they don’t take pole vaulting as seriously as other sports or like other field events because not as many people are interested in them,” Contreras said.  “I think it deserves the same amount of attention if not more because it’s such an intricate sport that requires so much more skill and dedication.”

Lafitte gave reasons as to why it should get more attention.

“I think pole vaulting deserves just as much funding as other sports because it’s just like other sports. It’s people putting in work to follow something they’re passionate about and it’s a hard sport,” Lafitte said.

She then continued  talking about what the sport means to the athlete.

“The importance of pole vaulting is showing people that you can be strong and that you can work for something to achieve something and to achieve new goals,” Laffite said. “And because of this passion they have for it they are willing to work as much as they need to.”

Contreras commented on the late start the team will have due its early on troubles.

“I think I’ll have to work extra time with the coach to work on form and technique,” Contreras said.

Regardless, Contereras has high aspirations for the team’s pole vaulting futures. 

“I want to improve my skills in pole vaulting and maybe even pole vault in college,” Contreras said.

Despite the initial struggle, the team’s coach, Coach Taylor has high hopes for the team, and plans on fixing the issue with lack of resources.

“We did a fundraiser as a team and we’re going to secure our own Lamar High School poles pretty soon,” Taylor said. “We worked with a group called vertical race and our whole team does their best to bring their friends and family together to donate to our track program.”

More specifically,

“We worked with a group called vertical race and our whole team does their best to bring their friend and family together to donate to our track program”

And once they get the poles he thinks they can go far, stating his goal, as

“To go win district championships,” Taylor said.