Pole vaulters displaced in absence of coach


Melissa Hebert

James competes in a spring meet during his junior year season. April 12, 2019.

As an unprecedented hurdle this coming season, the pole vaulting team has been forced to practice at First Colonial High School in lieu of finding a new coach after the resignation of Liam Arocho, the previous coach. 

“At Ocean Lakes, we are not allowed to do any pole vault practice where we’re going off the ground because we have no one trained to coach us there,” said junior Amanda Wilder.

While the team does participate in lifting and hurdle workouts at the school, they must commute to the Hilltop area multiple days a week in order to do pole workouts, an essential part of training for their event.

“It is a bit inconvenient because not everyone can drive to FC to practice so we have to stay at OL and we get to do very little,” said senior James Hebert.

Arocho resigned after his engagement and a new job with IT365, and the scarcity of knowledgeable pole vaulting coaches caused an issue for the team this year. Consequently, the team now practices at FC in order to work with an experienced coach. However, since they only spend a few days a week to do pole workouts, they now get substantially less practice time than previous years. 

“It puts the OL pole vaulters at a disadvantage when it comes to meets for sure because we are not getting as much jump time as the other kids in the city,” said James.

Even with the new struggles of this season, the team members still find a way to look on the bright side and gain what they can from a difficult situation.

“The coach there is amazing. We have learned so much in the past year and I see a lot of us setting new PRs this year,” said Amanda.

Even new members of the team are excited about what is in store.

“I just started pole vaulting this season, but it is a really fun group and I am learning a lot,” said junior Gabe Bowers.