Committed for Pole Vault?
Yes, you read the title right. One of my close friends, Sophia O’Sullivan, has recently committed to college for her incredible athletic ability with pole vaulting. Pole vaulting is an unique event for track and field where an athlete uses a long and usually flexible pole to lift themselves over a bar set at a certain height. I decided to interview Sophia in order to learn more about how she committed to college through pole vaulting.
Q: How long have you been pole vaulting?
A: I have been pole vaulting since the fall of my sophomore year. Before that, I was a competitive gymnast for about seven years, and when I quit gymnastics, I heard from my science teacher that I should try pole vaulting. I learned later that gymnastics and pole vaulting use the same muscle movements, so it was fairly easy to try it out.
Q: What made you want to start pole vaulting?
A: At first, I was recommended to try swimming, so I was going to try that, but then my earth and environmental teacher recommended that I should talk to Coach Trezona about pole vaulting. When I talked to him, I found out that a lot of ex gymnasts did pole vaulting, so it seemed like a fun alternative. Once I started it, I fell in love with it.
Q: What is practice like for a pole vaulter?
A: At practices, we start off with a normal warmup of stretching, and then we also do techniques called “pole runs” to engage our core. We also do bar work to help with our technique of vaulting. After the bar work, we do basic drills into the pit called “stay behinds”, “swings”, “straight poles”. Some days, we do full vaults with our farthest step back on the runway to get ready for meets.
Q: What college did you commit to?
A: I committed to Belmont Abbey College in Belmont, North Carolina.
Q: What was the process like for trying to play a sport in college? Did they contact you or did you contact them?
A: One day, I was scrolling through my emails, and I found a recruiting website that was free to sign up for. I decided to go ahead and sign up, and I ended up getting a phone call from the website’s recruitment agency. They walked me through the process of building a profile, and then I ended up getting a lot of emails from different colleges. I got an email from the field coach from Belmont Abbey, and he was interested in possibly recruiting me.
Q: Did you get any other college offers to pole vault?
A: Yes, I was also being actively recruited by Meredith College, University of Mount Olive, and few other colleges. It was all very new and exciting.
Q: In the end what made you choose Belmont Abbey?
A: After my first phone call with the coach, I scheduled a campus tour. When I toured the campus, I felt like I was home. Some of the current track team members made time in their schedules to meet me and walk around the campus with me. All in all, the atmosphere and the environment of the team felt like the best fit. It already started to feel like a second family.
Q: Do you have any advice for someone who is interested in pole vaulting?
A: I would say that you have to have patience because a lot of the new pole vaulters get frustrated with how long the basics take before the actual vaulting. You need to have an open mind and a positive attitude because you won’t always have the perfect vault. Sometimes you must fail first in order to succeed.
Overall, I am so proud of Sophia O’Sullivan and all the other committed college athletes. I know they have worked so hard to get where they are now. I can’t wait to see what they all accomplish in college and the future.