Shaw Pole Vaults His Way to State


By Zach Thomas

To many juniors and seniors, May 30 marked the day of prom, but senior Frankie Shaw had more important things on his mind.
Shaw spent the afternoon competing in front of a sold-out crowd at UC Berkley’s Edward’s Stadium for one of three spots that would advance him to the pole vaulting state championship.
In crunch time, Shaw came out with the 3rd place spot on a thirteen foot, eight inch jump, barely beating Marin Catholic’s Luca Sullivan, who had defeated Shaw in a jump off (equivalent to overtime) the week before.
“Making it this far feels amazing. I never thought coming into this season that I could qualify for state,” Shaw said.
At the beginning of the season Shaw’s personal record was eleven feet, six inches, a height that placed him 9th in the MCAL last year.
After matching that height at the first meet of the year, Shaw didn’t expect much more improvement this season, but a few weeks later he surprised even himself when he beat his old personal record by two and a half feet jumping fourteen feet at the Big Cat Relays.
Shaw went on to jump a best of fourteen feet, one-and-a-half inches, making his way onto the MCAL all-time top ten list and earning the title of MCAL field event athlete of the year after again jumping fourteen feet to win the MCAL championship meet.
Shaw credits his sudden success to his work during the offseason.
“This year I [had] been working on my speed and strength throughout the pre-season,” Shaw said. “I knew that if I got faster I could get on bigger poles and get over higher bars.”
At the state meet, Shaw will face some very tough competition but still hopes to improve even further. “Right now I’m seeded 23rd out of 25 so I just want to have fun and take in this experience as much as possible. ”
Shaw is still training hard but this late in the season the most important thing is to keep your cool “Finding a way to get over your nerves before you jump is half the battle.”
“I would love to get a [personal record] and make it to the finals on Saturday, but I feel blessed just making it this far,” Shaw said. The meet was held over the weekend of June 5. ♦