Canton South High School pole vaulting program being rebuilt from ground up

Mike Popovich
The Repository
  • After leaving the Eastern Buckeye Conference for the PAC-7, the Canton South track and field program was able to bring back pole vault this year.
  • South has four high school vaulters competing this season.
  • Head coach Scott Stayer's goal for his vaulters: "I want them to all have success and clear a bar before the end of the year."
Canton South pole vaulter Dom Prosperi prepares for an upcoming meet.

CANTON TWP. — Many of the area's best pole vaulters set high goals for themselves.

Some hope to break a school record, win a league a league title or qualify for the state meet. A few aim higher. They hope to join an already-crowded wing of Stark County state champions.

At Canton South, the goals for the Wildcats' four vaulters are modest, realistic and achievable.

"I want them to all have success and clear a bar before the end of the year," South track and field head coach Scott Stayer said.

Like Louisville , South resurrected pole vault as a track and field event this year. As a first-year Principals Athletic Conference member, there are no restrictions for the Wildcats now. Pole vault was not offered for many years when they competed in the Northeastern Buckeye Conference and Eastern Buckeye Conference.

The pole vault program at South is being rebuilt from the ground up. Entering the week, freshman Dom Prosperi is the only vaulter who has cleared the bar. He vaulted 6 feet.

"The struggle is real, but it's something new," Stayer said. "We're trying to get some middle school kids into it. They want to do it."

Stayer said his school administration's support for adding pole vault was awesome. It's an expensive sport, and added costs were required at South.

Canton South pole vaulter Alex Moses prepares for an upcoming meet.

"We didn't realize our box and the cement wasn't up to holding the newer mats," Stayer said. "The new mats are so big as opposed to what they were like when we vaulted years ago. They had to redo all the cement and put part of the runway in."

Former Massillon vaults coach Mike Stone is on Stayer's staff. He will work with Prosperi, sophomores Korryn Baddeley, and Emily Wheeler, freshman Alex Moses and South's six middle school vaulters.

"You have to have a pole vault coach," Stayer said. "It can't be a part-time job. You can't have a bunch of kids get injured. You have to make sure they're not doing things incorrectly."

Stayer never realized how much work it would take to resurrect pole vault at South. He used to be the boys head coach at Jackson, which has had an established vaults program for years. Now he oversees a program that will initially experience growing pains.

"I anticipate we're going to struggle until we get some of the middle school vaulters who have done it a couple years," Stayer said. "The novelty is there for the kids. They think it's cool. They don't realize how hard it is."

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