By John Philip Wyllie
“Pole vault is really a different kind of sport. It’s for guys that, how do I say this nicely, are a little crazy,” according to Eastlake High track coach, John McFadden .“They have to be willing to put their lives on the line. And they have to have that (fearless) attitude.”
While McFadden was speaking figuratively rather than literally in reference to pole vaulter, Anthony Quintero, flying 13 feet off the ground is clearly not for the faint of heart.
Quintero loves it. He is also becoming rather good at it. His 13’6” mark makes him the number one sophomore pole vaulter in the entire county.
“He is just three inches away from setting our sophomore record of 13’9” and I think he will get that before the end of the season,” McFadden said. “Actually, I think he will get up to 14’0”. That would place him among the elite in the county. Anthony has a lot of growth potential. If he continues to go the way he is going, I think he will become the best pole vaulter in the county within the next couple of years. I have had some really good kids over the years, but he is the best one I have had in a long time.”
Quintero had never pole vaulted prior to last year.
“My football coach, (Mc-Fadden) thought I might be a pretty good pole vaulter, so he encouraged me to come out for it last year. I ended up just falling in love with it. I have found that it is a good way to stay in shape and you meet a lot of new people. It is also a lot of fun and it looks good on your high school transcript,” Quintero added.
In order to be a good pole vaulter, you have to possess the right body type. Pole vaulters tend to be lean with a lot of upper body strength.
“You need to be dedicated and put a lot of time into it. You also have to keep yourself in shape, keep your focus and train constantly. Physically, in addition to upper body strength you need to have speed and coordination. With those three things you can become really good at it,” Quintero said.
Quintero is not just strong athletically; he is solid academically as well. He hopes to one day attend UCLA on a pole vaulting scholarship.