It's been a quick rise for senior Louis Martinez (Wallkill) this Spring Season. That's because he's spent the COVID hiatus perfecting his form on the club circuit of Pole Vault, one event that has seen less interruption than almost any other. Indoors, Martinez bumped his Personal Best up a full foot, pushing the bar to 16-1.5 at the Flying Circus Barn. After a 15-7 at Indoor Nationals, and a 15-0 clearance at the OB Elite Meet, Martinez returned to the Barn to clear 16-0 twice more before moving Outdoors.
Once outside, he was able to tackle the bigger poles. After three earlier Dual Meets, Martinez was ready to move to larger, stiffer poles, he tells Ken McMillan of the Times Herald-Record. That led to a major breakthrough. With his Outdoor PR still sitting at a 15-0, only set the weekend before, Martinez took a risk. He cleared 14-0 on his first attempt. Then 15-0 on his first attempt. With the stakes low at a Dual Meet, he threw the pole up to 16-6, three inches taller than the (at the time) current Section 9 Record. On his first attempt, he swung up and over, making contact with the bar on the way down. However, the bar stood strong, and so does the new record.
Full video below
The clearance makes Louis Martinez the new Section 9 Record Holder. It also ties him for #2 All-Time Outdoors with James Deutmeyer of Fordham Prep, from back in 2014. Only one athlete has ever jumped higher Outdoors, as Jordan Yamoah (Arlington) holds both Indoor and Outdoor State Records. Outdoors, that mark stands at 17-1.
While specialized training may have been easier to find, competitive Pole Vault meets have been harder. Last Indoor Season, back in 2020 before COVID hit, Shane Racey (Ravena) hit 16-6 at the State Qualifier, but lost the entirety of his senior year Spring Season to challenge that mark Outdoors. However, Martinez is looking to buff the event back up, with plenty of Season left in 2021 to challenge Yamoah's mark.