Dad knows best: Alexander headed to state in pole vault
Vail, CO Colorado
EDWARDS, Colorado ” Not only does pole vaulting require tremendous skill, it’s also takes something that can’t be honed in the pit.
Luckily, Vail Christian’s Kylie Alexander owns plenty of both. It helps that her coach is one of the best in the business ” not to mention her dad.
Under the guidance of her father, Charlie, Kylie will make the trip to Denver to compete in the state track meet. She is one of a host of Saints athletes who will compete at state.
“I’m really excited to get down there,” Kylie said. “I’m eighth in the state right now. I want to try and finish in the top 3-4.”
So, what’s it like having a parent as your coach? Kylie should know. Her dad is her pole vault coach in the spring, and her mom, Cathy, is the volleyball coach come fall.
In an event that requires the athletes to fly upside down, it helps to have a familiar coach next to you in the pit.
“I like it a lot better,” Kylie said. “I can trust him more. He’s there if I fall. I don’t like when I have new coaches. I don’t feel as comfortable.”
Kylie isn’t the first athlete Charlie has helped to state. He started coaching pole vaulting at Battle Mountain in 1992. Still, Charlie said this time it meant a little more to watch an athlete qualify.
“It’s pretty cool,” Charlie said. “I’ve been to (state) several times. I’ve been to Pueblo. This one’s pretty special, I must admit.”
Strength in the air
Kylie, only a freshman, made state in her first chance, but that shouldn’t be a surprise. She’s been toying around with the pole since she was six-years-old at her dad’s practices. Combine that with gymnastics background and Kylie is a natural in the air.
“When I’m running toward the pit, I’m scared,” Kylie said. “Once I’m up in the air, I feel like I’ve been doing it for awhile.”
Charlie thought Kylie could be a good pole vaulter when he noticed her strength in gymnastics.
“It’s the core body strength,” Charlie said. “It’s upside down awareness. You have to rock upside down on a fiber glass pole. You have to come down and be cat like and come down on your feet.”
Kylie is aiming for a top three or four finish at state. To do that, she thinks she will need to clear 8-feet, 6-inches. Kylie took second in her region in the pole vault with a leap of 7-6.
The 2A pole vault starts at 1 p.m. on Friday.
Saints ready to roll
Kylie won’t be the only Vail Christian athlete down in Denver to cheer on. A host of Saints will make the trip.
Ashlyn Gruber will be busy this weekend. She qualified in the 200 meter dash, 400 and the 4-by-200. Her teammates in the 800 relay will be Meghan Jacobs, Elizabeth Sharon and Jessica Linder.
Linder will also compete in the 800, while Sharon laces up her shoes for the 100.
On the boys’ side, the 3,200 relay team of Eric Gallagher, Ian Hamina, Ryan Vlaar and Chris Purse are on their way to Denver after setting a school record at regionals.
Sports Writer Ian Smith can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.