Kyle Stifflemire sets pole vault record

On the Sidelines | Dr. Jack Welch

It is always great to witness young people setting records, especially in track and field.  Records represent expertise in technique and athleticism.  Current records are usually very hard to beat because the records encompass many athletes and many years of the sport. Junior Kyle Stifflemire shattered the pole vault record he set last year with a vault of 16’ 2”.
 Track and Field is a sport that incorporates teamwork and individualism.  The sport of track and field is an extremely technique-disciplined sport.  The sport utilizes many forms of strategy and highlights pure athleticism.  Running, jumping, and throwing brandish the athletic capabilities of the human body without the restraints of plays and game regulations or hindered by equipment.  Many argue that track and field is the truest of all sports.
Track is an individual as well as team sport.  How the athlete performs affects the team, especially in situations such as relay races.  All four members are equally important in the race.  Each plays a role in the team’s efforts to win.  If even one runner does not perform at his best, the whole team may suffer or have to compensate to make up for his or her weakness.     
Individual performances are in every event but the relay races incorporate a challenge among the participants to not only reach for their best but to trust in their teammate to hand the baton off at the exact right time to get the maximum benefit of the group effort.  Relay races are like a machine.  When the machine is operating in unison with every part, it is a beautiful site.
Over the years, the ‘Dawgs have been very good in track and field competition.  The boys’ team won the 2007 state championship and is consistently taking several athletes to regional and state competition.  The record board at Bulldawg Stadium is impressive to look at.  Names like Robert Griffin III, Vontez Duff, TJ Hollowell, Gary Wright, Jason Mathenia, and many others are etched in history of the finest ever to compete on the Dawg track.  
The name at the top of the pole vault records is Kyle Stifflemire.  Kyle set the record at 15 feet last year as a sophomore but shattered his record with a vault of 16’ 2” this year.  That is a very impressive height for a high school athlete.  With regionals and state still ahead of him, he could continue to break his own record in the up-coming meets.
Kyle is just a junior.  He will have an opportunity to win the state championship two consecutive years (junior and senior seasons).  The key is he must stay focused and confident.  I believe he can do it.
Both the boys’ and girls’ squads this year did well in district 8-6A.  Both programs had full junior varsity and freshmen teams loaded with outstanding athletes.  The future is bright for Bulldawg and Lady Dawg track and field squads.  Congratulations to the coaches and student-athletes for a fine season.
Thought for the week, “At the end of the day, if you’re a professional athlete in track and field you are the CEO of your company.”  Carl Lewis

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