Reaching new heights

Skylar Suggitt hopes to break the school pole vault record when her senior season begins in the spring.


Erik Williams

Skylar Suggitt clears the bar during a practice at the Bay Area Pole Vault Academy. The senior started pole vaulting as a freshman in high school.

Crosslin Silcott, Editor-In-Chief

With only a 13-foot pole to help lift her, senior Skylar Suggitt hurls herself more than 11 feet in the air. Her sprint down the runway and the precision of planting the pole perfectly in the 8 inch box at the base of the actual jump is the difference between a recording-setting jump or a potential injury.

“Pole vaulting is as much of a mental challenge as it is a physical challenge,” Suggitt said.

Suggitt began pole vaulting her freshman year after she was recruited by former assistant coach James Higham. Her prior competitive cheer, gymnastics, and track skills made her a strong candidate for the sport.

“I had been a sprinter and figured ‘why not?’” Suggitt said. “With [Higham’s] coaching and encouragement, I found a love for this sport.”

She’s totally ingrained in the program. Her dedication has been through the roof. She just always wants to get better, always wants to improve; and she does whatever it takes to get there.”

— former Canadian Olympic pole vaulter Glenn Colivas, who trains Skylar Suggitt

Twice a week, Suggitt travels to Dickinson to train with a former Canadian Olympic pole vaulter Glenn Colivas at Bay Area Pole Vault Academy. This allows her to train and compete all year. Additionally, she works on strength and endurance by going to CrossFit four times a week.

“She’s totally ingrained in the program,” Colivas said. “Her dedication has been through the roof. She just always wants to get better, always wants to improve; and she does whatever it takes to get there.”

Due to the coronavirus, Suggitt’s junior year school track season ended after just two meets. At the time, her personal record was 10 feet.

“This was really disappointing as it was a key time to try to beat my personal record,” Suggitt said.

However, since her practices at Bay Area Pole Vaulting Club were outdoors, she was able to continue practicing and competing throughout the summer. She surpassed her personal record of 10 feet and is now jumping 11 feet, 3 inches.

“I had hit a plateau and was stuck at 10 feet for almost a year, so it was a huge relief and a big excitement to finally get over the hump,” Suggitt said.

Suggitt said that one of her goals for her senior year is to break the school record of 11 feet held by Pam Murfin and Sara Brenner. She has jumped beyond that but not in a high school competition. Her goal is to jump 12 feet by the end of her senior year.

“One of my goals was to get her jumping high enough so that she can compete in college,” Colivas said. “We’re close to that because she’s starting to get some phone calls from coaches calling her about jumping at the next level.”

Suggitt plans to continue pole vault in college and announced she committed to pole vault at the University of Montevallo on Dec. 10. Now, she looks forward to starting track season.

“Her dedication and her perseverance [have helped her] because even though she has faults like all of them do, she perseveres to correct those,” Colivas said. “I think she’s going to have a breakout year.”