The Student News Site of Ballard High School



Follow Us on Instagram

Junior shatters school pole vault record

Hard work at practice finally pays off after accomplishing yearlong goal

Annelise Bowser, Copy Editor
Originally published May 4, 2018

Julian WhitworthCelyn Stermer’s vaulting process at the recent track meet at Nathan Hale. Stermer broke her previous school record of 11 feet, 9 inches, and improved to 12 feet.

Julian Whitworth

Celyn Stermer’s vaulting process at the recent track meet at Nathan Hale. Stermer broke her previous school record of 11 feet, 9 inches, and improved to 12 feet.

In the second meet of the track and field season, junior Celyn Stermer broke the girls pole vault record by over a foot. The previous record, set by Monica Cohen in 2015, was a 10’10” jump, but after Stermer’s jump, the record now stands at 11’6”.

“It was my third attempt, so I had had already done two,” Stermer said. “It was my last chance to do it, and so I was just like, ‘give it all you got.’ I’ve put so much time and effort into training for this and it’s really just what I wanted to do.”

According to Theron Baker, Stermer’s vaulting coach, Stermer has always performed well. “Celyn has always performed at the top of her class and continues to do that. This is only her second year vaulting, but she nearly broke the school record during her first year,” Baker said in an e-mail. “So, in a sense the only thing changing is that she is getting faster and jumping higher.”

For Baker, the fun comes with watching Stermer improve. “As a coach, I kind of feel like I’m along for the ride with Celyn,” Baker said. “The larger part of the payoff for a coach is in the process. Working with an athlete like Celyn, who is determined and hard working, is always enjoyable.”

It didn’t come as a surprise to Stermer that she jumped that high. “I wouldn’t say I was surprised because I’ve been working so hard on off-season, I feel like I was ready to do it,” Stermer said. “It was just very rewarding having everyone there to see it.”

After Stermer’s record-breaking jump, Baker hopes she will continue to find joy in vaulting. “Celyn has already exceeded all expectations,” Baker said. “My hope is that she will live in the moment and keep finding the joy in the inputs: sacrifice, hard work, mental toughness and technique.”

In a sport dominated by boys, it’s important to Stermer to set a good example in the field. “Since [pole vaulting] has been such a guys sport and they just added it as a girls sport, I feel like raising up the girls record is important,” Stermer said.

“High school girls pole vault is a relatively new track and field event,” Baker said. “1998 was the first year girls valued in high school track in Washington State, prior to that it was a male dominated sport.”
Stermer’s goal from the start of the year was to break the school record, and now that she has, she is working to continue improving.

“Now that I’ve done that I’m going to keep putting in as much time as I did before and to keep working to go higher,” Stermer said. “Basically I just want to work on my technique and form so I can do it in college.”

Stermer trains a lot, typically leaving practice last and logging additional weekend practices. “She is an incredible athlete,” Baker said. “What makes her an ideal vaulter is the combination of her speed and her gymnastics background. She excels at both and needs to train for both.”

Stermer will be competing in the State competition at the end of the season among the top vaulters in Washington. “She has the 4th highest jump this year and will be a competitor to win the pole vault at the State meet,” Baker said.

Stermer continues to set the bar high on the field. “Celyn is the ideal example of hard work and determination and has the skills to back it up,” Baker said. “She competes with the eye of the tiger.”

Donate to Talisman

Your donation will support the student journalists of Ballard High School. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to Talisman

Activate Search
Junior shatters school pole vault record