Paige Martin, a senior at NFA, is a pole vaulter that beat her own record three times and hopes to soon break the 12.9 feet state record as well.
Martin began her pole vaulting career as a freshman at NFA. Pole vaulting has impacted her life in many ways.
“Pole vaulting has had a great impact on my life in many aspects. I have learned discipline, dedication, leadership and many more life skills from pole vaulting,” said Martin.
It takes a lot of dedication and physical preparation in order to pole vault.
“I practice pole vault three times a week and run and lift four times a week,” said Martin.
Pole vaulting requires a specific technique and multiple steps are involved to propel oneself over the bar.
“[To pole vault] you lift the pole up to about eye level. You run six to eight lefts [left foot steps]. On your third left, you shift your hands forward and press your hands up. Your right leg drives up to a ninety degree angle. The left leg swings back. You swing your left leg up until you connect with your right hand. You row and turn,” said Martin.
The physical aspect of the sport is challenging, but as Martin explains, the right mental state is much more difficult to maintain.
“If I think too much, I wouldn’t be able to jump. Pole vaulting is all muscle memory, but [it is also a] mental sport. I have to control everything,” said Martin.
Joshua Fish and Russ Versteeg are the NFA coaches that have helped to improve Martin’s pole vaulting for the past four years.
“She can improve her record by jumping higher. In order to do that, she really needs to focus on her bottom arm pressure, to bend the pole more, and getting her take off mark more outside,” said Fish.
Even though Martin already broke the high school record, she is still currently working on improving her pole vaulting, so she can continue the sport into college at UCLA. In order to qualify for the UCLA team, Martin needs to jump 13 feet.
“My love for pole vaulting makes me want to continue it. I love the sport. I don’t do it because I’m good or I need to, I am doing it because of my love for it,” said Martin.
Martin is not the only person who hopes she continues her pole vaulting career.
“I really hope Paige continues pole vaulting. She’s had a great high school career pole vaulting, and I think she has nowhere to go but up. She is one of the hardest working pole vaulters I have ever coached. She lives and breathes pole vault,” said Fish.
Martin recommends this sport for those who are physically and mentally strong.
Martin is currently still working on jumping thirteen feet in order to qualify for the UCLA team and to break the high school record once again.