Susquehanna pole vaulter eyes states
BY HEIDI ZENEFSKI
As the track meet between Susquehanna and Montrose winded down on Wednesday, February 9, all eyes were on the last man standing in the pole vault competition Wednesday, April 9, as Susquehanna’s Sal Pelicci easily cleared the 12-foot mark and the bar raised six more inches as the Saber competitor waited in the cold wind.
Pelicci cleared the 12’6” height on his second attempt as a crowd gathered to cheer him on.
The bar was raised one more time to 13 feet. Everyone watched as Pelicci ran, planted his pole and soared into the sky. This time, he didn’t make it over, but he didn’t go down without some excitement. Pelicci’s knees landed on top of the bar and as he and the bar fell, it bent and snapped startling the crowd that had inched closer to watch his attempt. The Saber athlete was not hurt and bounced right up after falling. Satisfied with his 12’ 6” successful vault, Pellici let that stand as his winning height.
The Saber senior started pole vaulting in his sophomore year.
He said he was “fascinated that the pole vaulters could get as high as they were.” Then he found out that one of his school mates went to States for pole vaulting and he asked to be taught how to pole vault by him.
Pelicci is paying that lesson forward mentoring younger Susquehanna athletes in the pole vault this season.
In the years since Pelicci started competing in the event, he has improved quite a bit. As a sophomore, his personal record as a sophomore was 9 feet six inches. He was clearing 11 feet by the end of his junior year.
This season, he won the Saturday, April 5 pole vault event at the Windsor (NY) Invitation with an 11 foot vault; but improved on that number by 18 inches with his 12 foot 6 inch vault at Montrose.
Pelicci says the key to success in the pole vault event is practice. It is a lot of “repetitive motions and muscle memory.”
His goal this season is to clear 13 feet 6 inches in order to make it to the State competition but he feels he “has a lot of work to do” to get there.
Pelicci also competes for the Susquehanna Sabers in the long jump and triple jump.
After he graduates from high school in June, he will be joining the United States Marine Corp. He is set to report to Boot Camp at Paris Island in August.