The trip was worth the effort. New York's Leah Pasqualetti (Orchard Park) made the long trip out West, to finally get in a meet with good competition, and was rewarded with a new National Record in the Pole Vault at 14-8.25.
It was no easy feat. With many flights cancelled, and only limited airlines providing transportation for her poles, the trip almost didn't happen. After initially cancelling the plans, Pasqualetti and her coach, Mike Auble, made it happen. They knew it was a golden opportunity in the age of COVID-19.
Auble, had been hosting small, three to five competitor exhibitions in his backyard Vaulting facility all Spring, in hopes of the Season's return in the Empire State. When those plans fell through, as well as the cancelation of Outdoor Nationals, the search came for a meet for specialized. On June 6th, Pasqualetti noticed a meet out in California called the Vaulter Club Vaulter Magazine Big Red Barn Meet.
She was in luck. There would be another rendition on June 26th.
The National Leader would also be in attendance. Paige Sommers (Westlake, CA) had jumped 14-6 in late February, at a spring season Outdoor Meet before the Coronavirus really broke out. At the first Vaulter Magazine Invite, Sommers broke the women's facility record with a 14-0 clearance. The competition was set.
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The meet found perfect conditions, and Pasqualetti started on a roll. Her personal best for the season had been 13-8, but she cleared that on her first attempt. Both Pasqualetti and Sommers moved the bar up to 14-1.75. Pasqualetti would make that on her first attempt. Sommers, the hometown athlete, would take close misses on her first two attempts, and then clear on her third.
The girls agreed, it was time to take a risk. They agreed to move the bar up to 14-8.25, just a quarter inch over Chloe Cunliffe's (West Seattle) Outdoor National Record. With the pressure on, Pasqualetti would take her first attempt. Up and over she would go, clearing the bar on her first attempt. Sommers would bow out after her third attempt at the height.
Pasqualetti would then go on to be the first ever High Schooler to take on attempts at 15-0, without a single miss on her scoresheet prior. Although she didn't clear the feat, the trip was worth the effort. Pasqualetti is now the Outdoor National Record Holder. She breaks the previous record set last year at Arcadia. Cunliffe still holds the Indoor National Record at 14-9. This performance also breaks the New York State Record of Tiffany Maskulinski (Iroquois),who had held the mark since 2005.