treble hook. | Faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, able to leap tall buildings in a single bound. Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…
October 11, 2022
Gracie Rippen, senior
Going into the GPAC Conference Championship I was nervous but I also had a sense of peace and trust.All season I had worked for this one goal and this was my last chance. All I could do at this point was to trust my coach, training, and most importantly God. During warm-ups I tried not to put too much pressure on myself although I knew in the back of my head that today I was either going to qualify for Indoor Nationals or not.
IN MY HEAD
I kept focus. “Let it be done unto me according to Thy word.” This helped me understand that no matter the outcome and whether I qualified or not, it was in His hands.
I knew what I had to do. My hands were shaking and my stomach was in knots. I was trying to grip the 13-foot fiberglass pole – my hands were sweating in preparation for what one author calls “the violent ballet”. I couldn't seem to calm myself down until my coach gave me a pep talk and prayed with me.
THE FIRST HEIGHT
I took my first jump and missed. But it was then that I pulled myself together and I laughed it off because I realized that I had let my nerves get the best of me. I knew at that moment I wasn't going to make any more mistakes. I couldn't afford anymore mentally or physically. In pole vault you get three attempts at each height. You may skip a height at any point in competition, but the more misses you have not only puts you behind it also makes you tire faster.
I continued to jump—made the rest of the heights and finally was faced with what I came here to do… Angle 1 Jump
3.42 meters (11’2.75 feet).
This was the bar that I had been trying to make all season. I needed to make this height to qualify for indoor Nationals. I took my first jump and missed. I was not too worried yet. I had two more attempts. At that point I was praying that I would at least make it on the second attempt so I didn’t have to wait until my
third. I took my second jump and missed again. One last chance.
Before I took my final jump at 3.42, I prayed again, “Jesus, I can’t. But you can. Please help me.”
When I grab my pole and walk
towards the runway there’s a feeling
that surrounds me.
A feeling that I can't find
At this moment it's just me,
my pole, and the bar.
I step onto the track with my spikes
and check my mark at about 70 feet.
As I stare down the runway I see the bar
that awaits me.
For a second, I imagine myself
going through all the motions
and the feeling of being lifted into the air.
I take a deep breath…3,...2,...1…HIT IT!
I begin to run as fast as I can
while holding my 13-foot pole in my hands.
I think: run tall and keep my knees up.
As I approach the end of the runway
I lift my arms up and stick the pole in the box
which is 4’x 2’ with a “bend cavity”
only 15 cm deeper than the track.
Muscle memory: Stay tall—
push arms out at takeoff—
bend the pole
with the strength and the energy
I acquired from sprinting down the runway.
As the pole flings me into the air
I feel myself leave the ground and
I catch the wave!
I swing my legs and row my arms
pulling my body vertical, parallel along the pole.
In what feels like a blink of an eye
over the bar
landing on the mat.
*Pole Vault Collar image found at https://www.etpsports.com/vault-collar-pit-piece-skins/
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