Junior vaulter runs, soars

Emily Persinger, Staff writer

Junior Paige Johnson has pole vaulted over 8 feet for the indoor track team. Of course she had to learn how.
“It was definitely scary at first,” Johnson said. “But I had a lot of friends to help me learn it.”
Junior Grace Jung was among these friends.
“Even though it can get frustrating, she’s always the one to give reassuring advice,” Jung, who also pole vaults with Johnson, said. “It is clear she’s constantly trying to get better.”
Johnson described the start of her pole vaulting experience as slow—it took her almost six practices to get in the air. But she was able to learn the motion and jump 8 feet by the end of her first season.
While Johnson has accomplished a lot, she feels there will always be room for improvement in order to accomplish her goal of jumping 9 feet by the end of the winter. Johnson’s coach, Chad Boyle, agrees.
“Paige is just a second-year track athlete, and so she is just scratching the surface with her potential,” he said.
Johnson is one of the top pole vaulters in the county, one of the fastest mid-distance runners in the track program and will be a valued member of the relay teams, Boyle said. Johnson’s time of 1: 02 in the 400 meters last outdoor track season was the team’s best.
Meets can be stressful for all track athletes. Johnson finds her own way to shake out her nerves beforehand.
“Before I jump I just try to take a deep breath and cancel out everyone else and just go,” Johnson said.