MIAA Divisional Class Meets


Predictions ? Lists going up, favorites, upsets?


Got to be honest, I’m getting a little tired of the pole vault being scored and team scored at the class meets. In DI girls, a meet that is as wide open as ever, with contenders Andover, Lowell, Newton South, and A-B all having vaulters, while Lexington, Weymouth, Newton North, and Cambridge do not. Andover has 6 vaulters, 4 of whom have met exactly the DI standard, Ab has 4, and Westford 3. What an incredible advantage these school have as they are allowed to compete in an event that other are not ALLOWED to compete in. It’s not because of money or a coach’s desire to get certified, it’s because they are not ALLOWED to participate in that event. In no other sport is there such a clear inequity. Imagine a basketball team not being allowed to shoot free throws or a hockey team not being allowed a power play. This is silly and the event needs to no longer be scored in the team scoring. I wouldn’t shed a tear if it no longer was contested in Mass. altogether to be honest.

The MIAA dropped boys gymnastics because the rate of schools participating was so low. I’d argue that the rate of pole vault participation is equally low, and thus, for equity, should be dropped. How many of these kids are being privately coached, leaving their HS team practices to go to some other place to learn the event. Also, it’s nearly a dead event, as we don’t have a female in Mass. in the top 200 in the nation. There is no other event in which we fail to have a top 100 girl, and in most we have several.

MIAA, do the right thing, drop the event from team scoring, and let the kids keep doing it, just don’t decide state titles on things like this. In fact, maybe somebody should make a real statement, and go find 4 11’6" vaulters, go 1-4 at the All State Meet and win the whole damned thing.

Disagree?.. come at me.


MCSPike…while i agree with some of your arguments…who said you were not allowed to compete in it?


Not allowed per school committee.


All aboard this train. As someone that has lost a dual meet and an invitational meet due entirely to pole vaulting, I can get behind that. I think it’s obnoxious when schools with pole vaulting “take the 9 points” if you don’t offer vaulting as well. The pole vault nonsense has bit me as a coach and also bit a team I was on as an athlete, costing us a Divisional Class Meet title. No tears would be shed. We don’t even have a track, never mind pole vault facilities. And yes, I’m certified to coach the event and all - I’ve been spending the past three weeks trying to figure out how I could possibly coach it without facilities because I know we could be out of luck for winning any titles without it. I just don’t like that the idea of winning a major title can come down to an event that the minority of schools participate in.

Do away with it as a scoring event all together. Duals, Invites, D1, All-States.


Somebody get me a napkin…:frowning:


I see the central/western performance only counts in DIV 1…no D2 list out, just as one would expect… you can see that small schools are going to be an after thought… hopefully someone went to lunch and will have them up soon… :confused:


first off I want you to know that I’m on the fence as to keeping the event - and we do it as well as anyone…

secondly - i am not in favor of getting rid of any event simply because I lose a meet. To me this is sour grapes. The idea that imposing my will is justified because I’m part of the majority does not sit well with me.

All that being said I am on the fence with a lean towards keeping the event…

I know that the Lowell, Andover and WA kids are all coached by coaches on their team. They may have some private coaches on the side (I’m unsure). Practicing at Cawley Stadium for the last 3 years I can tell you if the lowell girl does have a private coach she does not leave practice - I feel confident in saying that I’ve seen her there every day. Also, knowing Comeau, I’d bet leaving practice would be an absolute no no.

We too allocate a coach on our staff to coach these kids as does Central & N. Andover. Our kids do not have private coaches we vehemently discourage it for lots of reasons - which probably requires another thread all together.

As for your point that those other schools - one being yours? - are not allowed to vault. This seems to be more of an issue with specific AD’s or Leagues (where the leadership is made up of AD’s) or local school board. No other school should be held to the standards set by individual school boards in anything.

I wont argue your point on quality - MA PV is in a state of disarray. However I think the PV is an event where coaching matters - ALOT!!! This pains me to say this because I believe coaching plays a small role in the performances of a runner.

However, PV is a different story - I used to coach it - so this comes from personal experience. As a PV coach at Lowell I never seemed to be able to get a girl beyond 9’6". I tried like heck, but couldn’t do it. I simply didn’t know enough about the event. When one of my PVers went to Airtime Athletics - I decided to go too! I learned soooooooo much. Mostly, though I learned that any stooge off the street could take a girl who was strong, fast, and fearless and get them up over 9’0"…because that was me! I coached kids doing just about everything wrong & at times very unsafe!!! They “succeeded” in spite of me.

So here’s my point. PV education/athletic experience seems to lack from our coaches. (that was me - never did it & knew nothing about it) There are not as many knowledgeable PV coaches in our state as there are distance coaches - same could be said for all field events, hurdles, & sprints - in this state they lack in the sense that there is an extremely low volume of knowledgable coaches in all events except distance. So to say that athletic performance, nationally speaking, is one (of many) argument for eliminating the event is a bit misplaced in my opinion.

The better argument is we lack the adults in our track programs to adequately & safely progress our PVers with in the state, region, or country. I think that’s very evident. I know one thing - I am not ok with my own kids (as in my two sons) Pole Vaulting - simply because of the lack of competency in the event.

So from that end I’m in favor of getting rid of the event…BUT…

I often ask myself the following: would we see a boost in PV performance if there were more opportunities for people with PV experience/knowledge to coach the event at the high school level?

If for example a PV coach in MA had to be certified beyond the MIAA minimum (like a level 1 cert) - would we see an increase in the number of competent coaches? Because if we didn’t see an increase then the case can be made that not nearly enough people care about the PV to warrant the offer of professional development. And if that’s the case then stick a fork in it - cuz its done!

Ultimately if you want to succeed you must allow for the possiblility of failure. Put in context, if you want to rid the state of PV then do everything possible to make it better - and if it doesn’t get better - then you’ll have your proof & pudding!


I assume for safety reasons? Do they follow up on all other safety measures for the sport as outlined in the MIAA / MSTCA safety manuel?

Go to the school committee get the event allowed, get a coach or learn the event and stop whining.

There are a few other events that we a poor in on a national level. When girls first started vaulting not that long ago Mass. had some of the best in the nation.


First of all let me introduce myself – I am Coach Doug – the vault coach at Westborough HS and one of the coaches at the Patriot Pole Vault Club. I’ve now been involved with this wonderful event as an athlete and a coach for over 28 years now. Am I a tad biased when it comes to this subject? Most certainly! I am a HUGE track and field fan but the pole vault is the event I have always gravitated towards.

The pole vault is one of the most exciting events in all of track and field – just look at the crowds that gather around the pit when a competition is going on. At schools that have the vault the participation rate is huge! At Westborough HS where I coach we had 45 different kids (23 gals, 22 guys) clear bars in competition this year. In addition these vaulters are among the most passionate and dedicated of all track and field athletes. For the most part who are the last ones to leave practice? The pole vaulters. Who are the ones most likely to go seek out additional coaching and competition opportunities? The pole vaulters. There aren’t many events in track and field where at the end of practice you have to say to the kids “OK go home already!” :smiley:

First up a little history - approximately 10 years ago there were many more schools in the state that vaulted. For safety reasons the NFHS mandated an increase in the minimum size of the pole vault landing mats – a wise choice since the original minimum size was not very big at all. Unfortunately this had a major side effect as this forced many schools to make a tough choice – buy the new equipment or get rid of the event. Sadly many schools and leagues chose to abandon the event at that time including several schools that previously had tremendous success in the event : Brookline & Natick immediately come to mind as do several of the Berkshire schools…

Currently only 30% of Massachusetts schools do support the vault but I would hardly say it’s a dying event. As a matter of fact programs are picking it up anew or getting it back all the time. In the past 8 years or so we have seen Auburn, Athol, Belchertown, Bishop Fenwick, Bromfield, Burlington, Chicopee, Chicopee Comp, Clinton, East Longmeadow, Gardner, Greenfield, Hampshire Regional, Holy Name, Holyoke Catholic, Innovation Charter, Mahar Regional, Monson, Natick, North Reading, Notre Dame Academy-Worcester, Notre Dame Academy-Tyngsborough, South Hadley, Stoneham, Sutton, Turners Falls, Whitinsville Christian - to name just a few - start or restart up their vaulting programs.

As for performances on the National stage let’s not forget last year Massachusetts had Brendan Sullivan (Westford Academy) clear 16’ and Casey Teska (Nashoba Regional) clear 12’08.75” indoors - a performance that was good enough for 3rd place at the New Balance Nationals :cool:

I have read and listened to the arguments that several folks have presented here and I understand where most of you are coming from. I understand that the event can be prohibitively expensive and is the only event in high school track and field that requires a certified coach. There are definitely athletic directors, schools and leagues that are hesitant to go through the processes needed to have a vaulting program. However there are numerous opportunities for athletes to pick up the event even if their school does not have the facility to support it. All the school needs is for one coach to take the pole vault certification class given in March every year and they their athletes are OK to compete in selected meets. There are several clubs and facilities where athletes can go and practice the event – in addition to our club there is the MITPVC at MIT, New England Pole Vault at Harvard University and the Pioneer Valley PV Club run out in Northfield. In addition we offer free open pit practices EVERY DAY during the spring track season at Westborough HS and I know a few other schools that do the same.

In terms of the anti-“private coaching” mood we consider the Patriot Pole Vault Club to be a very public club! We have strived to provide every possible opportunity for those who wish to learn the event from free athlete & coaches clinics (Fitchburg, Mahar Regional, Acton-Boxborough, North Andover, Hamilton-Wenham,Stoneham, Westfield, Marlborough, Shrewsbury, Worcester Academy, Narragansett Regional, Ludlow, Groton-Dunstable, Chicopee Comp, Auburn – anywhere folks are willing to host we’re willing to travel!), free open pit practices during the spring track season and equipment rentals. We either keep in contact with the head coaches to make sure that our training meshes with their plans (we are not here to take over athletes- we are here to supply supplementary instruction) or the coaches have given us carte blanche with their athletes. For the most part all we work on is vault-specific technique – we don’t add any conditioning to their already difficult workouts. In addition all athletes that practice with us MUST follow the MIAA bona fide team rule – in other words the athletes MUST participate and complete their regularly scheduled team practice before they are allowed to come train with us. We do NOT allow athletes to skip their team practices.

In closing the pole vault is an Olympic event and should be contested as such without minimizing the athlete’s efforts due to some folks being overly concerned about a scorecard (and to answer you folks ahead of time yes I would love to see the steeplechase and the hammer throw added to the Massachusetts high school schedule as well). I agree with Warrior’s sentiments – if you are so concerned that you are going to lose points at championship meets then do something about it – don’t take away the opportunity for the kids that do it – instead recruit some kids and their parents to lobby the school committee or athletic director and get the vault reinstated at your school!

Thanks for letting me rant :slight_smile:

Coach Doug
“will vault for food…”


I wish we had that participation. I had one boy interested in pole vault this season and he quit half way through. We made zero points this year in the event on the boys side.

On the girls side, we had two girls, both attend your clinics after practice.

We couldn’t get kids to try the event even if we were throwing $100s out to anyone who touched the pole.

My opinion right now is to keep the event bit make it non-scoring. The athletes can still compete, move on to All States and be state champion but they’re not giving their team what may be an unfair advantage.


In the seven years of coaching here at the high school level, I don’t think the pole vault has grown in participation one bit. I agree that it is unfair to the majority of teams in this state that the event is scored (only outdoors mind you) at the division and all state level and limited to a small group of select programs. In the old words of Confucius either make it a mandatory event for all schools in the state or give it up as a scoring event. It is an unfair advantage for the few schools that do have this event and compete for the team title at the division and all state level.


Are you saying you are Confucius?



Lotta scratch’n come meet day:cool:


Great post. Glad you chimed in. And to be clear Brookline doesn’t vault because I am inept and for no other reason. I wish I was better but I have my limitations. We have pads and poles that sit around in our shed. We even have old slide boxes that were made to use.

Just because I don’t get it done doesn’t mean I’m going to complain about those that do.


In fairness, I will admit that I am sour grapes - no two ways about that. Discontinuing the event from all meets is obviously a bit over the top, but I do still strongly feel it needs to be a non-scoring event at the States level. I do believe it should be a scoring event if the HOST school offers pole vault. I do not believe a visiting school should be able to claim nine points if a host school does not offer the event.

I think it could be a scoring event if 50% of the participating teams at the state level had the event. I also believe it should be contested on an individual level no matter what. So I do apologize for being over the top before - it just sucks that an event most schools can’t even defend themselves in can decide an entire meet.


On a separate note…no 4x8 for Narragansett? Renee Capps in 3 individual events? I’m confused.

I am looking forward to this weekend though, and seeing just how the CMass/WMass meets shakeout!


Pick 3// 2-1 0r 1-2
She/Coach can enter any number of events, BUT choose 2 prior to the meet starting hence my whole lotta scratch’n remark:cool:
In D3 Andrew Bolze is entered in 100/200/400/LJ/TJ and 2 relays


mostly confused…:smiley:


Interesting. Love the creativity by these coaches; clearly out-thinking me :slight_smile: