WESTFALL - “By far the most difficult and hardest event in track and field”, is how Coach Tom Burns describes pole-vaulting. The skill of pole-vaulting is a combination of many other abilities, including running, upper body strength, jumping, speed, and agility. The handful of pole-vaulters on the team this year, according to Burns, “is on all sorts of levels, some inexperienced, some very proficient.” One such pole-vaulter is Ariel Christ, a senior in the high school and member of the team all four years. She placed second at districts last year, and her all-time record is 8’3”. As to why pole-vaulting and not any other event, Christ stated that she “loves the free-fall feeling.” She foresees a successful season, although she admits that districts will be tough. The technique of bending the pole to gain more height is the hardest part of the sport for Christ, but she has seen improvement from last year. Though there is only one senior member, there are other pole-vaulters with experience. Daniella Montemarano, a junior and three-year team member, pole-vaults because she “enjoys the challenge.” “So much is involved with every jump”, said Montemarano, who went on to say that the most difficult part of the activity is mastering all the techniques. In addition to Coach Burns, a returning Delaware Valley pole-vaulter is also aiding the team. Ed Banz, a volunteer coach, was a freshman when the program started, and was one of only two boys who finished the season. He now volunteers his time to help the team because, as he said, “I love the sport a lot, and I also do it to help out Mr. Burns because he was a great mentor to me.” Banz said the team is young, but has a lot of talent. For him, pole-vaulting was initially intimidating until he got over the fear of “flinging yourself into the air.” This is something that he addresses with the younger vaulters. With practices five days per week until 4:30 p.m., and occasionally until 6:00 p.m., if needed, the team is training hard for the season ahead. Pole-vaulting is one of many events that will take place at the track and field team’s first home meet on Tuesday, April 11.