Pole vault competition set at beach

A new high-flying competition called “Adirondack Aerial Assault” will have some big-name athletes va

A new high-flying competition called “Adirondack Aerial Assault” will have some big-name athletes vaulting more than 18 feet in the air when it makes its debut July 23 on the shores of Lake George.

Pole vaulters of various classes will come from across the country to take part in the Shepard Park Beach pole vault competition.

The three classes of vaulters will be competing in a festival setting at the north end of the beach with a DJ and an announcer.

Part of the goal of the event is to bring attention to pole vaulting, said co-sponsor Dennis Hogan, who coached track and field at Ballston Spa High School for 12 years and will resume next spring.

“Pole vault is kind of on a decline and we’re trying to get more people into the sport,” he said. “I think it’s phenomenal. I think it’s the greatest sport.”

There will be three classes competing; high school, elite and open.

Some of the athletes who will be competing in the elite class have personal records of more than 18 feet, including Rory Quiller. Quiller’s personal record is 18.5 feet. The Boulder, Colo., native now competes for Binghamton University.

Next will be Joe Samaniuk from Madison, Wis., who competes for Virginia Tech and has vaulted 18 feet.

Also in the elite class will be Luke Shoen, who has vaulted 17.5 feet and competes for the University at Albany, and Adam Hume of South Glens Falls, who competes for Buffalo University and has vaulted 16 feet.

Drew Fitzgerald of Ballston Spa has vaulted nearly 16 feet.

The world record stands at a little more than 20 feet.

Open class is for pole vaulters who fall somewhere between the high school and elite category, those who still vault recreationally but are not apart of a team and do not vault competitively.

Hogan is co-sponsoring the event with Dan Peretta, another area coach.

The organizers have already received about 50 registrations. They hope to reach about 100 competitors, which is manageable to complete in a day, he said.

Hogan said many beach pole vaulting competitions begin with about 50 to 70 competitors.

“No matter how many we have, we’re going to have a great time,” Hogan said. “It’s a great event for the village.”

Athletes have already begun booking motel rooms, he said.

If the event is a success, Hogan hopes to do it again next year and eventually make it into a two-day event. Organizers also want to move it earlier in the summer so it is closer to the college and high school season.

Saturday, July 23, will begin with warmups, and then high school and open women will compete. In the middle of the day, around noon, the elite class of men and women will compete. At the end of the day, the high school and open classes of men will vault.

The top three vaulters from each category will win dog tags and all competitors will receive a T-shirt.

“Those that know about it are really excited,” Hogan said.

Categories: Schenectady County

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