Sophomore Bella Sanvictores vaults to new heights on the totem pole

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photo courtesy of Bella Sanvictores

Track and field consists of a variety of events all of which require unique skill sets. Although every event is demanding, pole vaulting is one of the most complex and difficult. Pole vault requires technique and an advanced ability to vault over a crossbar set at various heights. To excel in pole vaulting, an athlete has to use a carbon fiber or fiberglass pole to jump over the set heights. The poles that athletes use have a wide range of heights, measuring between 10 and 17 feet. The athlete gets a running start and has to plant the pole into the ground and jump, thus propelling themself upwards. Next, they have to work the pole to get upside down, or inverted, while turning over the raised crossbar without knocking it over. The individual sport demands intense focus, mental strength, and perseverance. When it comes to excelling in one of track and field’s most technical events, Bella Sanvictores raises the bar.

Sophomore Bella Sanvictores has played an essential role on the varsity track and field team, as her impressive heights have added points to the teams’ score in every meet. Sanvictores has been pole vaulting for the past year and a half, and she has not taken a single week off, committing about four hours daily towards vaulting and improving her technique. Pole vaulting has truly given her what she has put into the sport as she currently ranks in the top 25 girls in California with a height of 11 feet, the school record. Although this is her official documented personal record, Sanvictores has unofficially cleared 11’6 and hoped that she would have the opportunity to break it this season.

However, with the COVID-19 outbreak, the season has been postponed, halting Sanvictores’ progression. With the sudden end of the season, many invitationals were cancelled, affecting how colleges perceive performances and marks.
Practicing with the Ultimate Pole Vault Club in Eastvale and with CHS during the season, Sanvictores has learned the importance of confidence and a positive mental state in pole vaulting.

“Confidence is extremely important because the entire sport is mental and you need to be willing to push yourself and jump,” Sanvictores said. “It’s definitely given me mental challenges but I’ve learned that being positive at the end of every day and to persevere has made me mentally stronger. Taking a confident jump and clearing the bar is such a great feeling to experience.”

Pole vaulting has not only helped with her athletic mentality, but it has also allowed Sanvictores to forge lifelong friendships and connections with her peers as well. All of the members of the pole vault community share the same motivation and passion to clear the next height, which helps with the team’s chemistry and friendship.
“Pole vault has an amazing environment where everyone is nice and encourages one another,” Sanvictores said. “Meeting all these incredible people and friends has made my experience really memorable.”

With her consistent performances and diligent work, Sanvictores looks to the future and making her mark in the sports world. Despite the cancellation of the season, she aims to beat the Claremont record when she gets the opportunity to, as well as to improve her technique. She aspires to pursue competing in college and later at a professional level. Her ambition and passion for the sport will vault her to many achievements to come.