On January 10th of this year Willy Packer, Noah Bruggeman and Coach Geoff Cyboron departed Centura and headed to the 2018 National Pole vault Summit in Reno, Nevada. They stopped in Sutherland, Nebraska to join their pole vault coach, two parents and two athletes. They loaded up in two different vehicles provided by the parents of the Sutherland pole vaulters. The Centura crew were passengers with Jay Elfeldt. The two adults traded off driving duties on their way to Reno. They reported really good traveling conditions the majority of the way. The boys watched movies and then went to sleep. The majority of the time traveling the athletes were sleeping. Right before sunrise, on the trip out, they were able to step out on the Bonneville Salt Flats, that was the only site seeing accomplished on the trip.
They arrived in Reno at about 2:00 pm eastern standard time where unloaded poles at the arena and were able to take in the set up of the event that included 15 runways and pole vault pits. After checking in to the hotel they checked into the National Summit and took in some of the pole vault hall of fame pictures and talked with some of the elite pole vaulters.
The first session was a general session to give some awards to some pole vault greats including Dick Railsback, a former world record holder, who resides in Nebraska.
The coaches then went to a session presented by Greg Duplantis, whose son right now is 18 years-old, leading the 20 year-olds and younger, with a world record of 19′-4 1/2″.
The athletes attended round table discussions with some of the worlds best pole vaulters, including the third place vaulter in the exhibition Scott Houston (18-8″)
The second session for the coaches was very good. Much of the presentation was a reinforcing what Mr. Cyboron currently does as a coach, however that he was able to take away many new ideas for training and correcting some of the athletes form.
The athletes second session was a learn-by-doing session at the arena where they worked with very veteran coaches from around the US.
On Friday evening they watched some incredibly talented vaulters compete. The women’s competition was won by Sandi Morris (Olympic silver this year). She vaulted 16-1″. The men’s competition was won by Mondo Duplantis (18 year old high school senior). He jumped 19-1″. Our two boys were very competitive in trying to get the t-shirts, which were fired into the stands.
On Saturday after they checked out of the hotel at 6:45am, they picked up the poles ordered from UCS Spirit saving $150 in shipping and handling charges. Willy then jumped at 8:30am. He was really looking to improve on form. He may not have jumped high heights, but he worked on getting on larger poles and improving his form. Noah jumped later in the afternoon. He has really come a long way as a vaulter, and has improved his personal best to 13-8. As soon as Noah was done with the competition, they loaded up and headed for home.
In reflection, this event is such a great experience. Coach Cyboron is unsure if anything like this exists for any other sport. Mr. Cyboron revealed, “As a coach, I learned so much from these elite coaches. Most of these athletes and coaches do this as a career. My goal, as pole vault coach, is to provide opportunities and experiences that put us above the competition. What I would change about this experience would be to fly to Reno instead of drive and we would rent poles upon arrival. Many of the competitors were from surrounding states with less travel time. I think we probably drove the greatest distance. There were few from further east, but they all flew to the event. Later we found out that poles could be rented, and they didn’t charge you to do that. I would encourage all vaulters to make the summit sometime in their careers!”
Noah Bruggeman responded, “I learned many things during the National Pole Vault Summit, but the most important lesson was the importance of the process. Many of the elite vaulters started out as a JV participants, just like everyone else, but through passion and a willingness to do more than anyone else, they accomplished the impossible!”
Willy Packer said, “It was a great experience in which we were given opportunities to not only vault, but to learn skills from some of the best vaulters and coaches in the country!”