KYtrackXC.com: You have been busy this indoor season. How many states have you competed in this
MS: Ummm I think five...Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, Nevada, and Tennessee. I have been
trying to get to the as many college, and competitive high school meets as possible.
Indiana is full of athletic BEASTS...which have been pole vaulting their whole life,
so that is where I try to go the most. My first meet was at my coaches facility
Vault High Athletics in Ft. Wayne. I think I placed third behind two old men (Gary
Hunter age 50, Paul Babits my coach age 45), but they are world record holders so ti
didn't hurt my feelings that much. I think we vaulted in the 14'6" range. After that
I went to a few Indiana U. meets, which were awesome! They had great jumpers, and
great coaches that all wanted to help me out.
In Nevada I went to the National Pole Vault Summit, which is held at the Reno
Hilton. It is basically the best place ever...and heaven on earth for pole vaulters.
It is a competition/convention/seminar just for the sport. During the competition
there I kind of got nervous...very nervous. I was placed into the elite high school
group, and was vaulting against everyone whose form I had been studying for the past
two years...so it was a nerve wrecking but nice to know that I am now on their
level! I ended up jumping what I thought was poorly, but cleared a PR of 15'2"
Then I went to Tennessee for the volunteer Indoor Classic. This was a very good day
for me, because things started coming together...and my longest/stiffest pole became
my warm up pole! Ohio State Buckeye Invite was my next meet, and I cleared 15'6".25 and PR'd
KYtrackXC.com:What are your goals for the Mason-Dixon Games?
MS: I want to go ahead and pop a 5.00 meter (16'4".75) jump! I might just pee my pants on
the mat if I do it, but that is my goal. I feel very mentally and physically
prepared for this meet. I have a GREAT dad who is actually traveling this moment to
pick up some poles for me, that are the ones I need to do big things. Also I will
have my coach Ray Sabbatine (his daughter is the girls overall state record holder)
at the meet, to watch me vault and help me out. He doesn't get to attend many of my
meets, but when he does good things happen. My other goal is to win as a team, which
I think is a small possibility, but if everyone does their jobs we will.
KYtrackXC.com: How did you get started with the Pole Vault?
MS: Well my sophomore year at a home meet, we needed points to win the meet. We had no
athletes vaulting for us, so coach was asking people to try it...I think I was like
the 7th person he asked. At the time I was the athlete on the team, that was the
third best in every event...so I saw it as something that I could actually be the
man at. I went over and went 8', . It was like a drug, every meet I got higher and
was more addicted! That began the obsession.
KYtrackXC.com: You are jumping over a foot better this year compared to last. What has been the
MS: There are sooo many things, but mainly it is understanding the vault. I have really
tried to become a student of the sport. Here in KY without any indoor facilities
around I don't get the chance to vault all that much, so being mentally prepared has
been key. Last year after Mason-Dixon I went through a slump, mainly because I was
immature and thought I knew the event more than I did...this year that won't happen,
and that is a reason I am jumping better now. I also have a great vault coach (the
old men who beat me in the first indoor meet Paul Babits), and many other people I
have contacted for questions and suggestions. I am much stronger, and my form is
much better. An example of this is the poles that I am using, last year the biggest
pole I used was a 14'6" 160 lbs. and when I got up on it I felt like a savage beast!
This year the biggest one I am on is a 15'6" 165 lbs., and I know I am going to need
bigger ones soon. I also think that the better I get the more greedy I feel, I
always want the next PR height every time I jump...so that motivation keeps me in