What kind of person would willingly run 15 yards with a 15’ fiberglass pole in their hands only to use that pole to hurl themselves over another fiberglass bar several feet in the air, then come crashing down on a large mat? Not many people grow up wanting to pole vault, but for an athlete at Golden Valley High School, Alec Walker is just that type of person.
Pole vaulting isn’t an event that everyone can do or might want to do. The track team at Golden Valley has only five varsity athletes participating in this event and numbers at the other schools in the Foothill League are minimal.
Alec Walker is a sophomore on the varsity track and field team who loves to vault.
“Pole vault makes me feel like I can fly,” he said.
Alec set the GV freshman school record last year with a vault of 10’6. Unlike other athletes, Alec didn’t start track at a young age like a lot of kids. He joined track as a freshman with the goal of being a successful sprinter, however one day at practice he saw the pole vaulters and was immediately interested.
“I joined track, looking for cross training for hockey; little did I know that I would fall in love with track and especially pole vault,” he said
That day changed Alec’s direction. His first day he tried pole vault he broke the freshman record! In his second meet ever he vaulted 9’6”.
Being that points are valuable during a track meet, pole vault is one of those events where a team can steal a few points.
“We came into this season in need of leadership in our pole vault group. Alec has definitely secured a leadership role within the group due to his hard work and dedication. I’m looking forward to watching him progress for the remainder of the season. The fact that he’s putting up good numbers as a sophomore is exciting for the future of Alec and the Pole vault team,” coach Lonnie Davis said.
Alec found success early in the event and finished third on frosh/soph, in the foothill league last year as a freshman. First place went to sophomore Adam West who vaulted 11ft.
Now as a sophomore, Alec’s goal is to get top five in the foothill league on varsity, and vault 13’ or better. When asked about how it feels to be the best pole vaulter on the team as a sophomore, and having other vaulters looking up to him, he said, “My team helps me out, and I help them out, we all make each other better and work as a team.”
Alec is looking to beat Josh Hamilton’s school record of 14’ and he believes he can beat it by his junior season. He said, .”I set high goals for myself and am not satisfied until I achieve them through hard work and practice.”
The rest of the league also has some excellent vaulters that can score points for their team. This week Alec will face Canyon High School’s Christian Valles who vaults 15’7”. The senior is a transfer from John Burroughs High School and sits at third place overall in California.
We wish Alec good luck for the rest of the season and later this week against canyon, with boys varsity for both schools being undefeated this meet will decide who will win the foothill league title. Every point in every event is crucial so Alec will have to turn it up and compete at his very best.