VHSL Discussing Eliminating High School Pole Vault in Virginia

Just released today was the VHSL membership agenda for the March 13th meeting. In this agenda reads "Discussion of eliminating pole vault for 2014-15 indoor and outdoor track"

Jaqueline Meeks of First Colonial, one of many athletes whose only event is the Pole Vault (Photo by Mary Ann Magnant)

 

 

3/13/2014  1:00 P.M.

RICHMOND, Va. - MileStat.com was on site at today's VHSL meeting held in Richmond. Among the items being discussed was the elimination of pole vaulting. This item was discussed amongst all classifications, each classification meets in a separate board room. The reasoning behind this being brought up was certain 2A East schools felt it was unfair for themselves to be competing against schools who had pole vault and thus scored points in the event, moreso then any other school. MileStat.com was only in the 2A classification discussion as this is the most pertinent area to cover with regards to this discussion, once more information about the other classifications is disseminated it will be updated here. 

The process: if suggestions for legislation are made in a classification they are voted on within the classification. If the vote passes the committee members (elected officials who represent each region at all classification levels) meet and discuss the suggested legislation. If a committee member then motions for this legislation it must be seconded to reach a vote. Once this motion is voted on it is then either accepted or denied. If the motion is accepted it is then discussed for changes at the next meeting on a classification level. A 2/3 majority is needed to overturn an executive committee ruling. 

2A Classification Discussion: The VHSL (not a school athletic director... i.e. voting member) did start the discussion by saying the VHSL has received legal advice in the past that when changes are made that they be made equitably state-wide. His demeanor also was that legislation like this, deviating from NFHS and VHSL guidelines for what is part of a sport is difficult to pass. Some of the suggestions brought up on the floor by schools' administrators were: separating it from the sport entirely, having pole vault not count towards a team title, safety concerns, lack of interest, and new liability costs for schools having to get new liability insurance. 

In response to the first suggestion a committee member, someone who will be voting on this matter if it gets motioned for a vote, said: "awesome idea to create new pole vault competition separate from track." 

Another interesting quote was: "having pole vault makes the competition sub-par because there is no competition." 

The floor then discussed specifically Maggie Walker and their points from both the regional and state meets. The general opinion on the floor was that it was unfair that Maggie Walker had pole vaulters and that their teams did not. Many cited false statistics and facts saying Maggie Walker was the only school in it amongst other things ignoring one speaker's remarks that MW actually scored more points in the girls 3200 then pole vault. 

After this discussion the motion was suggested and seconded. A vote was called and the motion passed 31-2 in favor of making pole vault its own competition outside of the sport of track and field. Some suggested even moving it to a different location then the state meet. 

Other pertinent legislation was to make 1A/2A a single day meet, few individuals who voted on this could name more then a single event and thought the only reason and only event held on Day 1 of competition is the 4x800. 

More to come later today, keep up with real time updates via our twitter account @MILESTATDOTCOM #MileStatPV

 

Update: (11:00 P.M.)

1A: Recommended that because of the small number of participants at the 1A level, athletes who wanted to pole vault could do so by competing at the next level up (2A) and that their points would not go towards a team's total. 1A moved this motion along so that it will reach the committee level. Concensus was uncertain of how this would allign with NFHS and VHSL rules. 

4A: Sources are saying this classification voted that pole vault should not change.

5A: Multiple sources confirm that 5A voted unanimously in favor of keeping pole vault the way it is.

 

Update: (11:00 P.M.) 3/14/14

6A: Voted unanimously in favor of keeping pole vault as is. 

 

What this all means is that the discussion will be brought to the executive committee. If this is ruled as emergency legislation, which all sources tend to suggest it is not, this could come up for a vote and be passed by winter. Likely this will be discussed at the fall meeting and then could go to a vote that would not go into affect, if it passed, until 2015-16. 

 

More to come after New Balance Nationals

 

Twitter Feed: Using #MileStatPV (please keep tweets appropriate or they will be banned)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poll: (not the main issue with pole vaulting and not thought to be the reason for this discussion)

 

 

Comments

Register or Login to post.

  • jamiehiegel / 6 Months Ago
    I would think that football is far more dangerous and costly than the pole vault but I raerly see that mentioned as a possibility for removal.
  • jamiehiegel / 6 Months Ago
    I would think that football is far more dangerous and costly than the pole vault but I raerly see that mentioned as a possibility for removal.
  • BobGraham / 6 Months Ago
    It appears that the concern is not about the safety to the athlete, it is about the cost of the event in terms of equipment and insurance. I can understand that some schools do not want to pay the cost to have the event and are probably upset that they lose meets due to the points they have lost from not participating in the event. Virginia is behind nationally in producing high vaulting pole vaulters. Virginia seems to top out at 15'0" to 15'6" while nationally, vaulters are up to 17'0" and higher in some cases. A quick glance at milestats records will confirm this fact. "Danger it has for the athletes, spectators, and officials" is this a perceived statement or is this factual? Has anyone compiled the actual damages from pole vaulting in the VHSL and broken the damage out by those categories? I have been involved with pole vaulting only in the last 2 years, and I can report that I have seen good and bad vaults which resulted in minor injuries (much like hurdles or long jump would produce). I am fortunate to report that I have not seen a single official or spectator get injured in the event. I would say that the officials running the event are professional and safety conscience at all times and do not tolerate any horseplaying or dangerous activity to occur on their watch. I have seen one pole break during a meet (state meet at that) where the individual was not injured physically. I think mentally it takes some time to overcome a pole breaking on you while vaulting. That individual is back and vaulting at the heights reached before the pole breaking.

    The tools used in pole vault are not cheap. However, if taken care of properly, you will get many years of service from them. Mistreat the tools and they break down faster. If Virginia's high schools are to continue to be a feeder system for our colleges, how can we remove such a vital part of the track and field program? Already Virginia High schools are missing out on Javelin, hammer and weight throw that students only get to learn in college or in AAU or USATF meets. Is the VHSL looking to become a relay/running event only in the future? Any one of the field events can cause injury to the athletes or others.

    Accidents do occur. Not only in pole vault but other events as well. That is why insurance is important. If you do not think accidents can occur, take a look at the 4A Regional Meet 4X400m race where the official was run into after stepping onto the track during the race. Should we ban running events due to the danger of people stepping onto the track accidentally?

    Personally, I feel the complaint arises more from the schools that do not have and do not wish to pay the initial costs to incorporate pole vault into their program. These same schools realize that they are forfeiting the points from an event that can mean the difference between a win or loss at the end of the day.

    Pole vaulters are a smaller group than most other events. They should not be penalized/discarded because there are fewer people in the event and they appear easy to pick off or less likely to defend themselves. Our school just purchased new mats. Will the VHSL (if they decide to drop pole vault) reimburse all the schools for their investment in the event? This topic should be dropped from the agenda entirely. If there is no empirical data to support the "danger" to athletes, other than what you perceive as the athlete races down the runway, drops the pole into the box, and soars to heights they never dreamed of reaching.

    To All Vaulters: Keep following your dreams and stand up for your sport. I am never short of being amazed by your grace on the pole and in the air. VHSL: Keep these kids hopes alive, drop this ridiculous idea and do something to help our vaulters be more competitive at the National Level.
    Bob Graham
  • shscoach / 6 Months Ago
    The issue here is not safety. I've had it confirmed that the issue is some areas of the state with smaller size schools that do not have pole vault are losing points to schools that do have pole vault, who they never had to compete against before reclassification. If you look at the 1A-2A State meet and the 1A-2A East region it should tell you all you need to know.
  • runthe8 / 6 Months Ago
    We don't have pole vault in Loudoun County (or indoor track like most of the rest of you). Our schools are in the 3A, 4A, and 5A divisions. I know it does annoy coaches that our teams are at an automatic scoring disadvantage against teams with pole vault, but in my mind, that's an argument for ADDING the event, not taking it away from everyone else. But of course, that takes money, and Loudoun doesn't appear to want to spend money on adding sports (field hockey or indoor track come to mind) or events that require another coach and equipment. Or maybe we parents and coaches haven't made a big enough fuss about it. Or maybe other parents, coaches and ADs don't think it is much of a problem since I don't hear much talk here or at meets about the lack of opportunities in our county for track kids.
  • MileStat / 6 Months Ago
    Don't be fooled people. Reasons of safety or liability when it comes to threats of getting rid of the pole vault are usually a cover up or guise for either budget reasons or this recent push has to do with competitive disadvantage for some schools who don't offer pole vault feel exists competing against schools that do offer the pole vault, so they want the VHSL to eliminate that disadvantage.

    Of the past 13 years I've covered the sport, I've seen way more injuries in other track events than the pole vault.

    It is important that coaches, athletes, and parents that are pro-pole vault let their voice be heard to their athletic directors and/or principals because as we know many administrators know very little or care about track & field. They are the ones voting and easily being swayed by someone's else perspective or opinion even if it is faulty or not good overall for the sport at these VHSL meetings since many don't know anything about the sport. Inform each of your athletic directors and principals.
  • BobGraham / 6 Months Ago
    runthe8 - Our school does not have an indoor facility either. We do however sport an indoor team. We adapt and use our outdoor facilities on the good days and on the bad days we move indoors to the gym. The only time we see an indoor facility is when we go to invitationals that have the facility. Woodberry Forest, St Christophers, and Boo Williams to name a couple. Sure our kids will complain about the cold on occasion, but if you were to suggest cancelling the indoor season due to the lack of an indoor facility, our kids would be livid. I hope the word gets out and the uproar about pole vault is enough to quash the idea of removing pole vault. I know the word is being spread as I have received emails from folks not in the pole vault group sending me emails to let me know that they received something on Twitter about the issue. I wholeheartedly agree with you that this is more an argument for adding an event not removing an event from the lineup.
    BobGraham
  • W214 / 6 Months Ago
    If the concern here is over small schools not having pole vault
    1 it's the school districts fault
    2 a better solution than denying kids the right to pole vault (and in some cases the right to perhaps life changing scholarships) would be to redistrict. If you complain so much about losing out on points change important meets (regionals) so that teams with pole vault compete against teams with pole vault and teams without pole vault compete against teams without pole vault. Do not take away these kids rights to pole vault. It would be a disgrace to the entire track and field community if this were to happen.
  • BobGraham / 6 Months Ago
    @jamiehiegel - Football will never be touched because it is a money maker for the VHSL. Track and Field meets are generally free to the public until you get to the Conference, Section, or State meets. I would hazard a guess that they tend to make enough to cover the hardware they hand out to the kids at these meets but not necessarily enough to pay for the timing and the officials. Hence, track and field is probably a drain on their funds instead of a cash cow for them.
    Bob Graham
  • MileStat / 6 Months Ago
    The VHSL has informed us that the discussion is being brought up in the upcoming meeting tomorrow by the 2A East Region schools (no coincidence being the same region that Maggie Walker is in).
  • ColeisQuick / 6 Months Ago
    Yeah Adeline you tell them!!!!!!
  • ColeisQuick / 6 Months Ago
    @Mile Stat why ban pole vault when more people are injured over hurdles and we already have the supplies necessary so VHSL would be wasting their money. Why is this even taking place who started this discussion?
  • ColeisQuick / 6 Months Ago
    @MileStat why ban pole vault when more people are injured over hurdles and we already have the supplies necessary so VHSL would be wasting their money. Why is this even taking place who started this discussion
  • runthe8 / 6 Months Ago
    @BobGraham Yes, I know that very few have access to an indoor facility for training. I meant that in Loudoun we don't even have an indoor track SEASON! And it does not seem to bother anyone, other than a tiny handful of parents I have spoken with who would like their kids to have the structure and opportunities to compete provided by an official track season. I don't even know if most of the coaches in the county would be supportive of an indoor program- no one pipes up when I post about it here. Possibly they have all accepted that it is not likely to happen and they are just making the best of it.
  • kinwreck / 6 Months Ago
    I am the head coach of King George HS and I whole heartedly favor the continuation of Pole Vaulting. Bob Graham's views are identical to mine. If you look at the poll results you will see that with skillful coaching and an emphasis on safety pole vaulting is just as safe as an other endeavor. Let's not use the smokescreen of safety to look at the cost of the event which school systems have avoided and now want all others to be compliant with in the name of competition.
  • CoachDSM / 6 Months Ago
    I think it is very clear that some schools want to get rid of it for reasons related to "competitive balance", and certainly, it doesn't surprise me that it comes from 2A schools. When one school dominates the state entries in that event, with all of the girls entries and all but two of the boys, it definitely creates a competitive imbalance. But lets look at it this way:

    Pole vault is part of the sport of track & field. Teams may choose to focus on it, or they can ignore it, just like throwing, jumping, hurdling, sprints, distance or relays. I am sympathetic to those schools or those school districts who cannot afford it to support it because of the cost of the event, but that is not sufficient reason to get rid of it. You don't eliminate aspects of other sports because of "competitive imbalance". You wouldn't get rid of hurdles because a school/district couldn't afford to buy hurdles, would you? You either do your best to strengthen your other events to overcome the imbalance, as you might in football...if your quarterback and/or receivers are poor, you strengthen your rushing game or special teams or defense to compensate...or you make arrangements to add the vault to your program. Sometimes this means travelling a bit, or sharing coaches and facilities. We've done it for years, but that is what makes it work sometimes.

    I noted that in the other state meets, vaulting seems to be more or less thriving, and the spread of competitive balance is fine. There have already been plenty of flaws due to reclassification, I don't believe that we as a sport need to water it down further to the lowest common denominator, meaning if some teams/districts can't vault, then none of them can. That is wrong. Vaulters from our school, as in many across the state, are just as skilled athletes as those in other events. They work just as hard to prepare, and deserve the same chance to compete. They deserve the same opportunity to earn scholarships, and teams who have vaulters, should have the same right to add them into their competitive arsenals. Moreover, for many of us, the money has been spent.....we have invested in pits....we have bought poles...we have athletes who have made it their passion....we have trained coaches. To take it away from everyone, just to please a select few, is wrong.

    I'm not naive enough to think that part of the argument won't be about cost and safety. Cost is a relative issue, and still affects some differently than others. Safety....it is a dangerous event, but I feel like in VA, most of those who do coach or compete in the vault due a good job in emphasizing safety, and to be perfectly honest, I've seen more injuries occur in running events (ie: hurdles or in sprint relays), than in pole vault. I think that statistics will show that when done correctly, severe injuries have been minimized.

    It concerns me quite a bit to see how a faction of the VHSL can be so heavily swayed by one division or classification, to the extent that our sport could be fundamentally changed, simply because of the affects of what is occuring within that one (or two) classifications. Perhaps they might admit that this is yet another affect of re-classification, and continue examining potential changes or tweaks to the system, but I am also aware that if it does go, we are not getting it back, either.
  • mcgorty / 6 Months Ago
    Virginia colleges love Virginia high school vaulters. We hope this issue is dropped quickly. Think of all the greats from Virginia that have represented the state at an NCAA, National, and international level... Lawrence Johnson, Brian Hunter, Kevin Brown, Michael Morrison, etc... and that's just a few of the many, not to mention all the young women. Good luck and we hope to see you vaulting high for years to come. George Mason University
  • BobGraham / 6 Months Ago
    @mcgorty - Great to hear from George Mason on the vaulters. I had the pleasure of watching your last chance meet on March 1 and it was awesome to see some of the Virginia Vaulters flying high. There were some pretty impressive vaults happening. Good luck in your outdoor season.
    Bob Graham
  • irunifish / 6 Months Ago
    The discus is far more dangerous than the pole vault. Pretty sure football, baseball, softball, lacrosse, and wrestling are too. This relates to budgets or someone without pole vault facilities lobbying.
  • CavVaulter99 / 6 Months Ago
    Pay close attention to the female athlete in this photo. It is Jackie Meeks, currently coached by Lawrence Johnson (Former Olympic silver medalist, USA indoor record holder, and Virginia pole vaulter). She does not jump high because her school simply has pole vaulting. She jumps high because she has been coached well. These smaller schools do not lose points because they do not have pole vaulting, they do not have pole vaulting because no one in the area has fought for the event and likely even if they got it, their athletes would not be at a level to make or break a state championship. If someone is bad at cross country they do not as for distance running to be removed because they do not have good distance coaches. Virginia has more opportunities to pole vault than a lot of other states. Many high school coaches argue that kids should not have to go to clubs, or maybe should not be allowed to. But the truth is that most high school's do not have enough coaches or enough know how to coach EVERY track and field event at an elite level. That being said, there is always an event or two left un-coached at every school.

    Pole vault does not make or break a state championship. Occasionally you have the one athlete that is good at everything and they vault as well and win the state title by themselves (Felicia Majors, Mike Morrison), but that is a rare occasion.
  • Godzillah / 6 Months Ago
    If an issue is saftey or the risk of injury, there are many other sports that should go before pole vaulting. Cheerleading is one of the most injury marred high school sports in the country. Soccer is up there with injuries, gymnastics, football, and I'm new to VA but I would imagine lacrosse has it's share of collision injuries. I don't think any of those sports should be banned any more than I do pole vaulting. In fact, I wish we had javelin in our state's track meets.

    If cost is an issue, for all the schools that own pole vaulting equipment, eliminating pole vaulting would be throwing well spent money away. Some schools might have to travel to share another shcool's equipment because they can't afford to start from scratch, but how can you waste the money of the school's who already own and operate pole vault equipment? Why would the concerns of schools who can't afford the equipment trump the concerns of those who don't want their money wasted?

    If it is a matter of the re-districting and some schools getting points practically before the meet even starts, so what! This is about the kids. This is not about a coach's or a school's wins and losses. There are and will continue to be scholar athletes who get help going to college because they can pole vault over an insignificant bar suspended in the air. All of this discussion is nothing compared to getting VA state kids higher education. Pole vaulting is safe enough, and a benefit to hundreds of scholar athletes.
  • adelinescelzi / 6 Months Ago
    I am very saddened by the thought that the VHSL is looking at eliminating pole vault. I have trained all my years in high school for the event and would be devastated if it was taken out from not only my senior year but for all years to come. If this came about as an issue of “competitive balance”, why not look at it as encouragement to add a pole vault program to a school instead of taking it away entirely? Virginia has had so many successful vaulters such as Cameron Overstreet (top performer in the ACC), Lawrence Johnson (Olympic gold medalist), and Mike Morrison; so why take away the opportunity to have other amazing athletes. I understand that some people believe pole vault is dangerous and costly, but arn’t gymnastics, soccer and football, too? It doesn’t make any sense to cut the sport that so many high school athletes, like myself, have grown to love.
  • addisonsprints / 6 Months Ago
    Im not at all in favor of this, but maybe a solution is keeping it for the schools that want to but in a meet where every chool cannot be fairly represented in pole vault then to not have it count towards points but still keep it as an event where atheltes can gain conference, regional and state recognition for the event. This way it can be kept for a number of athletes instead of dropping it all together
  • Razbor / 6 Months Ago
    This probably sounds outrageous, but if pole vaulting is a disadvantage for some schools, can't we still have it, but make it so it offers no points?
  • runthe8 / 6 Months Ago
    @Razbor I think the problem with this idea is that eventually, no one would offer pole vault. Why waste coaches, athletes, and practice time on an event if you can't score points in it? It's a nice idea to still offer it for kids who want to do it, but the reality is, teams want to win meets, and if you have great athletes doing pole vault and earning no team points, well...most coaches probably wouldn't go for that.
  • BobGraham / 6 Months Ago
    @addisonsprints - That makes sense. And if I don't have a 4X400m team or a miler to represent my team we can not count those points as well. As you can see, that is not a viable solution. Of course I am being sarcastic. As a previous writer expressed, if you are weak in one area, you work to shore up your strong areas and make your points elsewhere. The kids that work hard at pole vault should not be penalized and treated differently than any other track and field athlete.
    Bob Graham
  • CoachKing / 6 Months Ago
    In having a discussion with my Principal, Ms Rhonda Stegall, the Chairman for 3A - we are of the same thinking and will indicate so in the meeting tomorrow - that schools with vault should not be penalized because others do not have it, regardless of the reason.

    At Hidden Valley, we do not have vault for 2 reasons, no equipment and no qualified coach. If and when the day come that we can afford it, we will get it and I will find someone other than myself to coach it.

    As far as safety goes, I am not going to debate which events or sports are less safe than the vault. With the proper pits, poles, coaching, the vault can be just as safe as any other at risk activity. When I coached in California, this issue came up, back in the mid 90's. Instead of shutting the event down, we made two significant changes and now the vault is thriving. 1. Poles must be verified against the weight of the vaulter (now a National Federation rule) and we do this in VA. 2. All Vaulters must wear helmets. We do not do this, but if and when we get the vault, my vaulters will. I did not like this rule at 1st, and you may not, but once you have a vaulter snap his pole and crash into the box on his head, you will!

    I do not believe this discussion will get very far tomorrow and certainly will not be up for a vote, based on my conversation with Ms Stegall. I do recommend that you have a conversation with your Athletic Director and or Principal as many voices are stronger than a few!

    In Running
    Coach Daniel King
    Head Girls & Boys Coach
    Cross/Indoor/Outdoor Track & Field
    Hidden Valley High School
  • FLPietri / 6 Months Ago
    I was involved in 8 years with Pole Vault in the Beach District as both a student athlete(Kempsville 99-02) and as a coach (Landstown 05-10). In each of those years, I cannot count the number of times I welcomed or was myself welcomed to another school to be coached and use their equipment. I remember Butch Caldwell at Bayside letting me come over with Shawn Kole (Tallwood) and Brittany Yates (Tallwood). We weren't on his club team, we just wanted to vault, and he wanted us to succeed at the Vault. I remember jumping at Cox high school over summers with Tim Webb with Kellam kids and others from around the district because he was one of the few vault coaches around and again, loved seeing us excel. I remember borrowing poles from every school imaginable because it was difficult to budget for more than a pole or 2 each year when all vaulters know you can potentially need 4-6 poles on a single meet depending on the many variables. I remember talking to coaches of schools without vaulters and asking them if I could raid their sheds to see if they had one that would suit me or my teammates or even others around the beach.

    When I began coaching, I would invite any athlete who wanted to put in the work. I would gladly help anyone. I would offer help at meets to athletes I had never seen before. Brian Triolet (Princess Anne) would bring his kids over to me (Landstown). Kempsville Athletes would go to him. Kellem athletes would go to him. There were not many vault coaches around so we gladly helped anyone that asked. Vault coaches understand that if a kid is naturally better than yours and he/she beats you, he needs to figure out how to be a better coach.

    All of this reminiscing is meant to show that resources are available for those athletes, coaches and administrators who want to find a way to get athletes vaulting with minimal resources.

    Btw, if I don't have safe high jump mats or enough hurdles, will I not let my athletes compete? If I only have outdoor shots or no discuss coach, will I push to eliminate those events from their seasons?

    I haven't addressed safety or money here, but if the argument requires it, I am willing to discuss that too.

    -Coach Fran
  • judyhavrilla / 6 Months Ago
    It was not easy for my son to make the track team. He was cut each time he tried out in middle school and also his freshman year in high school. His sophomore year he finally made the cuts in a handful of running events. I encouraged him to try the pole vault -- it looked like fun and he has an adventuresome spirit -- and it turns out he does it well. He's gone to states twice and has twice been named his team's field event MVP. I am sure he never would have tried pole vaulting if it hadn't been a high school sport.

    My son also swims, in swimming some high school teams have divers and others do not. It's an issue I only know of vaguely -- our team does not dive, there are meets where teams do have divers and we don't but I've not heard an issue made about it. Our swim team practices at a facility which does not belong to the school or the county. The team rents pool time. Swimmers have to pay a whole lot more to swim per athlete than other teams. This is the norm. I do not know if arrangements are made for athletes who cannot afford the cost, but I imagine they are.
    I am used to the idea with swimming, and I can see how, with the moving up on poles required to go higher, it could be expensive. I'm willing to pay an additional fee to support pole vaulting if that would help.

    I also wonder if the scores could be weighted or done on some sort of percentage of points possible system at meets to account for teams without a program. Other commenters have mentioned that pole vault is not the only sport in which teams do not field athletes, so I don't know how that would work out.

    Like others who have posted here, I've learned the pole vaulters are part of a very supportive community. Coaches from teams with an indoor facility, for instance, welcome vaulters from our team, where there is not an indoor facility. It is a drive, but again we are accustomed to this -- the pool is also 40 minutes away from our home. It's nothing new in our family for high school athletes to have to "go the extra mile" to compete in their sport.

    Much has been said about the opportunities for our high school athletes to earn scholarships and compete at the college level and beyond. To that I'll add that I looked in to it last night and it appears that at least 1000 colleges and universities nationwide have pole vaulting. Many also offer biathlon, a sport that includes pole vaulting and produces what is considered the "World's Greatest Athlete." With the exception of ODU, it looks like all of the Virginia State-sponsored colleges and universities have vaulting, and Virginia Tech is often mentioned as one of the top 10 schools nationally in the sport.

    With all of that said, I'd like to bring to the forefront the potential for positives that vaulting has in the lives of all the athletes who compete, at whatever skill and whatever level. I've seen that the athletes in pole vault learn to be friends with their competitors. I've seen that spectators at meets enjoy and are inspired by the sport. My son describes pole vaulting as "fun," and now that my step-daughter has started in the sport this spring (her freshman year), I'm so happy to see her describe it the same way. My son said to me this winter, "You know, when you're on the mat and you look up and see that the bar is still there, that is the best feeling in the world."

    I sincerely hope that athletes in Virginia will continue to be able to be introduced to pole vaulting.
  • knnmcdaniel / 6 Months Ago
    I hope the vhsl will listen and not vote on eliminating the pole vault it is a great event.
    You can learn to pole vault with nothing more than a pole and the long jump pit some of the greatest vaulters from VA had nothing no pits and no coaches just a desire to be great.
    I learned to vault from a great coach who cares deeply for this sport.
    Not only did he coach myself he also coached every other kid who called him up and asked for help, no matter the school, no matter if that kid would beat our school. This event is full of coaches like this willing to help just to grow the event. The cost of vaulting can be reduced if schools with vault programs work together to help the schools without programs share coaches and equipment.
    Our pit and runway is open to anyone with a desire to learn the vault.
    Everyone just please voice you option to the vhsl and don't let this get to a vote
  • CoachStinger / 6 Months Ago
    The proposal to eliminate the Vault is a pure power play by the 2A schools. It is whining at its best. I SINCERELY hope that this proposal dies a quick death in the VHSL legislative apparatus. The VHSL is designed to promote the best interest(s) of the students who it purports to represent not who gets the trophy.
  • CoachKing / 6 Months Ago
    I just got off the phone with Rhonda Stegall, the 3A Chairman, and she has indicated that there was very little discussion about the pole vault. The main issue was points scored. Safety was briefly discussed, with regard to equipment, coaching. Almost everyone was in agreement to keep the Vault. The discussion will come up again tomorrow in larger group. Again, this is the time to contact your AD or Principal if your want your voice heard!

    Coach King
    Hidden Valley HS
    Cross/Indoor/Outdoor
  • jfowler / 6 Months Ago
    I do not think that anyone has any thoughts of doing away with pole vault. But here are the facts. Very, very, few 2A teams currently have PV due to the fact that the old Group A classification did not have PV. Therefore, in order to have vault, they would have to spend, at a bare minimum, approx $13,000 in order to have PV(if their existing track facility could even accommodate it). Most of these schools do not have that kind of money in the current economic climate. Frankly, $13000 is enough money to buy uniforms for every other team in their school except possibly football. That is a lot of money to spend on a small group of athletes or one event out of many. Plus they would need to have a coach who is knowledgable enough to coach the event in order to ensure the safety of their athletes. Most schools with enrollments under 750 do not have enough coaches to do such a thing. This leaves some schools who currently have PV at a significant advantage in the team competitions. It would be like playing 4 on 5 in basketball.

    The point of this is to level the playing field in the team competition to the allow for schools who cannot afford the initial capital outlay to not start off the meet 20 points behind another competitor. I don't understand why we can't still hold the PV at the state and regional meets and simply not count the vault in the team scoring. The champions would still be recognized and have their opportunity to compete. Individual districts/conferences could make the determination about whether to hold it at their conference meets.

    But make no mistake, this whole thing is based on the finances of pole vault at the small schools. That is why Group A eliminated it so many years ago.
  • jfowler / 6 Months Ago
    I do not think that anyone has any thoughts of doing away with pole vault. But here are the facts. Very, very, few 2A teams currently have PV due to the fact that the old Group A classification did not have PV. Therefore, in order to have vault, they would have to spend, at a bare minimum, approx $13,000 in order to have PV(if their existing track facility could even accommodate it). Most of these schools do not have that kind of money in the current economic climate. Frankly, $13000 is enough money to buy uniforms for every other team in their school except possibly football. That is a lot of money to spend on a small group of athletes or one event out of many. Plus they would need to have a coach who is knowledgable enough to coach the event in order to ensure the safety of their athletes. Most schools with enrollments under 750 do not have enough coaches to do such a thing. This leaves some schools who currently have PV at a significant advantage in the team competitions. It would be like playing 4 on 5 in basketball.

    The point of this is to level the playing field in the team competition to the allow for schools who cannot afford the initial capital outlay to not start off the meet 20 points behind another competitor. I don't understand why we can't still hold the PV at the state and regional meets and simply not count the vault in the team scoring. The champions would still be recognized and have their opportunity to compete. Individual districts/conferences could make the determination about whether to hold it at their conference meets.

    But make no mistake, this whole thing is based on the finances of pole vault at the small schools. That is why Group A eliminated it so many years ago.
  • jfowler / 6 Months Ago
    I do not think that anyone has any thoughts of doing away with pole vault. But here are the facts. Very, very, few 2A teams currently have PV due to the fact that the old Group A classification did not have PV. Therefore, in order to have vault, they would have to spend, at a bare minimum, approx $13,000 in order to have PV(if their existing track facility could even accommodate it). Most of these schools do not have that kind of money in the current economic climate. Frankly, $13000 is enough money to buy uniforms for every other team in their school except possibly football. That is a lot of money to spend on a small group of athletes or one event out of many. Plus they would need to have a coach who is knowledgable enough to coach the event in order to ensure the safety of their athletes. Most schools with enrollments under 750 do not have enough coaches to do such a thing. This leaves some schools who currently have PV at a significant advantage in the team competitions. It would be like playing 4 on 5 in basketball.

    The point of this is to level the playing field in the team competition to the allow for schools who cannot afford the initial capital outlay to not start off the meet 20 points behind another competitor. I don't understand why we can't still hold the PV at the state and regional meets and simply not count the vault in the team scoring. The champions would still be recognized and have their opportunity to compete. Individual districts/conferences could make the determination about whether to hold it at their conference meets.

    But make no mistake, this whole thing is based on the finances of pole vault at the small schools. That is why Group A eliminated it so many years ago.
  • BobGraham / 6 Months Ago
    @jfowler - Pole vault has been an integral part of Track and Field for years. I understand the argument concerning the cost. We all have felt the pain of cut backs and having no funds. I do not agree with the 4 on 5 basketball comparison though. You assume that the rest of the track team is strong in all events. How do you tell your child (pole vaulter) that he/she is on the track team but you won't score any points for the team if you do pole vault. Oh, you can compete, but you won't have any bearing on the outcome of your "teams" competition. If the VHSL goes for this type of competition, I certainly hope they do it for a short period of time (say 5 years) to allow the smaller schools to budget for the expense. Even then, I still feel bad for the kids that truly want to compete in pole vault representing their school. It is hard enough to compete with Soccer, flag football, and baseball for athletes, now some schools want to drop another event from the roster for money? Enough parents at a school board or board of supervisors meeting would be the starting point to level the playing field. Also, if you are short in one area you work harder in others to garner points.
    Bob Graham
  • judyhavrilla / 6 Months Ago
    As I mentioned in my previous post, it took my son 4 years to make the track team. He very much wants to be a member of the team, a real member. Are you really on the team if you aren't allowed to contribute? Talk about being a second class citizen.

    Can't help but be a little mad that this all came about as result of new groupings. No one thought of this, honest mistake (who can think of everything?), but to suggest a fix that diminishes the contributions of athletes who have been working hard in a sport?

    Are we still talking about changes state wide or just in 1A, 2A?
  • vamilesplit / 6 Months Ago
    @judyhavrilla First off, it would take a lot for this rule to pass any level, though the 31-2 vote speaks volume to the lack of support for the event. The VHSL rep made it seem that legally speaking it is very difficult to make a change in one classification and not another, that means it COULD be an all or nothing thing which bodes well for everyone because it is much more unlikely to happen... this is all speculation of course, I have not heard from 3-6A yet and they will have much more insight into if this is a statewide issue or not.

    Hope that helps! I will keep everyone posted, this coming during Nationals is hectic to say the least!

    -Nolan
  • judyhavrilla / 6 Months Ago
    As I mentioned in my previous post, it took my son 4 years to make the track team. He very much wants to be a member of the team, a real member. Are you really on the team if you aren't allowed to contribute? Talk about being a second class citizen.

    Can't help but be a little mad that this all came about as result of new groupings. No one thought of this, honest mistake (who can think of everything?), but to suggest a fix that diminishes the contributions of athletes who have been working hard in a sport?

    Are we still talking about changes state wide or just in 1A, 2A?
  • jowebbfary / 6 Months Ago
    Pole vaulting is very cool. It IS a track event. I coach at a small school that hasn't had PV for 30 years. It is absurd to think that we could get the equipment and coaching expertise to have the event this year, but...I would be willing to send interested athletes to a camp and maybe weekly coaching sessions to be able to compete. Those schools who have a vaulter should be able to participate and if say a minimum of 6 schools in the state have vaulters then score it. Otherwise, let them compete and get individual points, but no team points. I don't think PV should be eliminated, but there should be guidelines for adding it as an event if the school hasn't previously had it. Also...it is not MW fault that they got moved down and have an excellent track program. LEAVE the GREEN DRAGONS alone!!
  • CavVaulter99 / 6 Months Ago
    Ok from the looks of things this is only a 1A/2A issue. The whole idea of making pole vault its own sport or even not scoring it is way over the line. However, I can see how if Maggie Walker was the only school in all of 1A/2A with pole vault how others would get mad. But the idea of making this a state wide issue is way overboard.

    If Maggie Walker is truly the only school in that division with pole vault, then it might be reasonable to allow them to compete at the 3A level and only score 3 of the athletes or something along those lines. Or incorporate qualifying marks for the state meet so that the individuals competing are actually of state qualifying level. Opening height at 3A level was 9'0, so something like that might work.

    There are always weak events. But I think schools should be encouraged to promote the events, not tear them down. In the 1A/2A division there were hardly any events where 8th place (what it takes to score) would have been remotely competitive in any other division.

    The truth of the matter is that Maggie Walker is a good complete track and field team that would be competitive in any other league. THEY WON BY 90 POINTS!

    Take away the women's pole vault and I guess you could say they would 'barely win' by 57 points... It is petty things like this that bug me about some coaches. Like those that report an athlete who wins the 200m by over a second for not covering up an ear ring. This is supposed to be about the kids.
  • michwolv2 / 6 Months Ago
    There are some situations where a coach has someone who is qualified to coach vaulters but the school/administration says no because of liability/insurance. How fair/unfair is it to that team to have to compete in a meet in which the pole vault is scored? Just a question.....and is there anything anyone would suggest to someone who might be in this situation?
  • vamilesplit / 6 Months Ago
    @michwolv2 It is fair, it is just one of those things that coaches and athletes have to deal with in certain municipalities. That is not to say that the state should abolish it in certain divisions because of themselves not coaching it. Certain counties do not allow it, that is a complete separate issue from the VHSL! Cosby high school didn't use any excuses when they won the state meet and Chesterfield County has not had pole vault for at least 15 years. What I would suggest doing is having your athletes practice where they can, sometimes getting work in at a private school or elsewhere but no school should limit their students' opportunities.
  • michwolv2 / 6 Months Ago
    I think I probably should have clarified something. I am completely against the pole vault being removed from Virginia high school track & field. In particular, I think those athletes that have trained and put in so many hours for the pole vault deserve to have the event and deserve to be recognized at the conference, regional, and state level. My desire would not be to "take away" from those kids, but somehow find a way to give our kids the opportunity to compete in such a great event. It just seems doubtful when our area hasn't had it for so long. Also, when combined with the cost/insurance hurdle, it seems like a long shot for our kids to ever have that opportunity. If your school/county won't allow it, your kids can't train on their own and compete in a meet as part of that school. I am only seeking suggestions on how to best approach this issue.
  • vamilesplit / 6 Months Ago
    @michwolv2 Insurance is a non-issue. Having pole vault does not drastically change it, so if they are telling you that is the issue then they are not checking their facts. Equipment and the such is however very expensive but like I said can be shared among other schools. What I would suggest is bringing to your administration the facts about pole vault, they probably know little about it or how safe it can be, and educate them on it. It is understandable that they may not want to pay a coach or invest in the equipment but they should not hold back an athlete to practice elsewhere. I would arrange it so that the athlete can practice a couple days a week somewhere else, most coaches would welcome anyone in for that type of thing. If it is not banned by the municipality then schools can open themselves up for possible legal action, or so the VHSL stated, so it is really a matter of providing equal opportunities for the children, that is what you should stress in my personal opinion
  • knnmcdaniel / 6 Months Ago
    If the points for the pole vault don't count then the kids are not really on the team.
    I think sense we are bad at free throw shooting we shoud not have it count but we will let you shoot them, but not count them in the score.

    Oh we are also bad at punting we need to ban that too, my golfer can't putt maybe we can just puck it up.

    Oh better idea all you schools that are poor sports work harder and try think of all the young people in Virginia who work very hard at their chosen sport, just let them compete and let it count.
  • PVmaster / 6 Months Ago
    It is very say that this was initiated by BRUNSWICK HS 2A simply because they are poor sports and didn't have any pole vaulters, and want to harm all other pole vaulters in the State. All should contact BRUNSWICK HS and voice our dissatisfaction with their example of being a bad-sport, and their intent to harm all other athletes for this own personal gain, just so they can score higher in meets.

    Can we vote BRUNSWICK HS out of VHSL?
  • vamilesplit / 6 Months Ago
    No matter what schools or coaches think it is administrators who vote on this and at the 2A level they voted almost unanimously against it so I do not think it is one school's workings but quite a few administrators who are not well versed in the sport of track and field and do not understand the sport as we do.
  • knnmcdaniel / 6 Months Ago
    No matter what if the vhsl continues down this path to ban the vault because of Maggie walkers girls vaulters they violating the rights of these young women who have worked very hard to compete.