Westside Track Unveils New Pole Vaulting Pit


Aubrey LeClair

Westside unveiled the new pole vaulting pit on April 12.

Westside High School unveiled a new pole vaulting pit on Tuesday, April 12. 

Westside Track Head Coach Jonathan Preister said that, until a while ago, Westside was the only Class A school in Omaha that didn’t offer pole vaulting.

“There [are] 31 Class A schools, [and] of those, most of them do offer pole vaulting,” Preister said. “It was kind of a no-brainer for us, being the only Class A school that didn’t offer it, [to add it].”

Preister said that for the last few seasons, the team has been practicing at College of Saint Mary or Millard North because both schools have pole vaulting facilities.

“The last two years we’ve been [practicing at] Millard North,” Preister said.“This year, in the winter and the first three or four weeks of the season, College of Saint Mary has let us come over and vault once or twice a week.”

Preister said the track team needed to buy a lot of equipment before officially opening the pole vaulting pit.

“There’s quite a bit of stuff,” Preister said. “All the pads, [and] the standards that hold the bar. [Also] the cost of the runway, and [the] poles.”

Preister said the pole vaulting pit was officially opened on April 12 for a JV pole vaulting meet.

“It [opened] on Tuesday for our meet before our JV meet,” Preister said. “That [was] the first time it [was] vaulted on ever.”

Senior Madison Jones is one of the pole vaulters who will practice at the new pit. Jones said that she has been a pole vaulter at Westside since her sophomore year.

“I started pole vaulting in the spring of sophomore year, but then COVID hit so we completely stopped the program and then started up again my junior year,” Jones said.

Jones said that her current personal record is seven feet, but that she’s working on extending her record by another foot.

“My personal record right now is seven feet, [but] my coaches want me to get to 8’ or 8’6”,” Jones said.

Jones said that she thinks the new vaulting pit will benefit the athletes by making it easier for them to practice.

“I think that having to go outside of the school is really hard for some student athletes to get to go practice,” Jones said. “It will better the program, and students will be more likely to attend practices.” 

Jones said the new runway was built near the area for other track and field events.

“They [built the runway] by the shotput and discus area out by the tennis courts,” Jones said.