Freshman Jordan Robart sticking the landing during pole vault practice. (Courtesy of Jordan Robart)
When talking about a runway, most think of a fashion show. Saddleback College freshman Jordan Robart is used to something a little different. A runway nonetheless, but one that is narrow and lead by a giant pole that ends with a trampoline-like landing pad.
“Back in high school I didn’t know what I wanted to do during the track season,” Robart says. “I noticed pole vault and thought it was unique. Once I joined the team I fell in love with the sport. The coaching staff and just the uniqueness of the sport really got me dedicated.”
Unique for sure, Robart spends about two hours at team practice and then works out another two hours on his off days.
This sport really tests Robart in a lot of aspects such as patience, tolerance, and agility. The frustration builds when he is trying to reach a new height and is off by inches.
In High School, Robart dedicated a lot of his time to perfecting his jump and run, so much that he became one of the pole vault captains at Aliso Niguel High School.
This feat did not come easy on a team of over a hundred people, but joining the Saddleback track and field team has changed the atmosphere he was so used too.
This season will be Robart’s first season with the Gauchos and although the season has not started yet he is already learning a lot from his teammates. Robart got a shin splints injury that still re-occurs to this day when training in High School. Having such a small group teaching each other and learning from one another has taught him how to train properly and in a way that is most comfortable for the splints.
“Back in high school the team was much larger,” Robart says. “The smaller team in college is really helping me on a more personal level. It’s easier to improve and work on the little things.”
Pole vault may not be a contact sport, but Robart has had his fair share of incidents.
He snapped two poles, one of which bounced from the landing box and hit him on the back of the head leaving a mild concussion. With poles made of fiberglass and carbon fibers, they are sensitive when not used properly.
The biggest challenge Robart has faced is patience. He changes his form until developing the one that works for him. There are so many small details that have to be taken into consideration in order for jump run to be executed safely.
“Over the years my form has evolved based on what I’ve seen that works and doesn’t and sometimes it’s frustrating because you think you’ll never get it right,” Robart says.
Robart has a few things he plans to work on this season and, hopes to beat his own personal jumping record. He plans on reaching a 13-foot jump and improving his runway takeoff in order to reach that goal. And most importantly he wants to be an asset to the Gauchos.