Ward Is Motivated To Reach New Heights

Falconer’s Rachael Ward has continued to impress in the pole vault during this year’s indoor track and field season, setting another new personal best last Saturday.

Ward was able to clear the bar at 12 feet at the Section VI Houghton College Varsity Select No. 1 meet. In doing so, the senior set a new high mark for herself in indoor competition, despite still recovering from an injury sustained during her run at an individual New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championship in outdoor track and field in 2018.

“Last year in the outdoor season she made the state meet and missed the pit when she vaulted and had to scratch out of the meet,” said Nick Spry, Ward’s indoor coach. “She is just now getting back into form, and she still doesn’t have an approach where she is taking the full amount of steps she normally would.”

Ward had previously hit 11-6 on both Dec. 8 and Dec. 22 before bumping up to 11-7 on Dec. 29 at the Western New York Relays.

Spry and his fellow coaches are encouraged by that development through December, with Ward yet to take to the vault fully recovered from her injury.

Typically, the indoor track and field season serves as a training period for pole vaulters who are looking to hit their best marks during the outdoor season. Thus far, Ward has been keeping that focus while also making sure to rehab her injury.

“All this indoor is just getting ready to get to her maximum height in outdoor,” said Spry.

Practice time is naturally limited for pole vaulters during the indoor season due to winter weather, which forces Ward to travel out of her way to find a vaulting pit. In this case, the best option has been the PVP Warsaw Pole Vault Club, which is a two-hour drive north.

“She is just very, very self-motivated,” said Spry.

The next big test on Ward’s radar will come on Saturday, Jan. 20 at the Border-War Invitational, where the best of Section VI and V will meet at Houghton College.

This year’s indoor season will culminate with the NYSPHSAA Championships at the Ocean Breeze Track and Field Athletic Complex on Staten Island in early March. The outdoor track and field championships will be held at Middletown High School, begining on June 7.