Sophomore ranks second in state in pole vaulting

Athlete finishes the season breaking numerous records

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Sophomore ranks second in state in pole vaulting

Courtesy of Lianne Kistler

Courtesy of Lianne Kistler

Courtesy of Lianne Kistler

Paige Anderson, Staff Reporter

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Sophomore Lianne Kistler never thought she would be ranked second in the nation for women’s pole vault and yet here she is, breaking the sophomore state record and sophomore national record.

Kistler ended her freshman year with her personal record being 11’3. Now, it’s 14’1.

Kistler started the sport spring her freshman year after current senior, Celyn Stermer introduced her to it. The two met when Stermer was ten years old through Seattle Pacific University Falcon gymnastics.

“I told her she would be a natural at it,” Stermer said. “She’s very naturally athletic at gymnastics so I figured all she needed to figure out was the run and the approach.”

Just like Kistler, Stermer has been doing gymnastics for years and understands from experience how beneficial the sport is to pole vaulting.

Sophomore Lianne Kistler poses by the height marker at the Nike Eason Invitational. At this invite she broke the school record, sophomore state record, and national sophomore record.

“You use a lot of the same muscles in gymnastics and pole vaulting, and the mental part is the same,” Stermer said, “You have to be fearless to do both of them.”

Along with being coached by the school’s track staff, Stermer and Kistler both take private lessons. The constant practice helped Kistler improve tremendously.

“She learned how to plant super strong and better her approach,” Stermer said. “She’s able to commit to each of her vaults and she has improved so much on her form and technique.”

The two both still participate in school gymnastics which continues to improve the athletes.

“A lot of my accomplishments come from my gymnastics background,” Kistler said. “It helps me with speed and strength which I can build off of for track and pole vault.”

Freshman year, Kistler was planning on trying out for lacrosse. When Stermer convinced her to try track instead, Kistler knew she would want to do more than just sprint.

“I really like track but I don’t feel like I get enough out of sprinting,” Kistler said. “Pole vault makes it more interesting, it’s scarier but more fun.”

Kistler hopes to vault in college and is participating in the Junior Olympics this summer.

“This is the first year I considered doing the summer meets for Junior Olympics because last year I focused more on gymnastics,” Kistler said. “It should be a great experience.”

Kistler’s main goal is to not only remain consist but to also break senior Chloe Cunliffe’s record. Cunliffe attends West Seattle High School and won state this year, currently holding the national record at 14’8.

Although pole vaulting may come easier to Kistler, she still faces challenges just like any athlete.

“The hardest part in both pole vault and gymnastics is overcoming mental blocks,” Kistler said. “But I work hard at practice and always try to stay focused.”

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