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Allison Stokke Newport Harbor pole vaulter

Allison Stokke Newport Harbor pole vaulter

The Orange County Register
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10 questions with Newport Harbor pole vaulter Allison Stokke

For those few seconds she's in the air, the world that spins hundreds of miles per hour seems to go in slow motion.

It's the best feeling, said Newport Harbor junior Allison Stokke, who doesn't get to savor those moments often.

When she does, however, it's a feeling unmatched by any other sport she can think of, making it easy to solely focus on pole vaulting with the Sailors' track and field team.

The week after winning the Sea View League championship last season, Stokke broke her right leg on the cement box where she plants the pole.

She hopes to get back in championship form, perhaps breaking her personal record of 13feet, 3/4of an inch she set a year ago today at the Surf City Invitational at Huntington Beach. Stokke said it's always a goal to break a record, and she'll get that chance today at the same invitational.

She recently took time to speak with the Register's Miguel A. Melendez to talk about how she got involved with the sport that takes her high in the air.

Question: So how did you end up in this sport?

Answer:I did gymnastics for about nine or 10 years, so when I decided it wasn't for me anymore, one of my friends had just started pole vaulting so I decided to go with her.

Q: Are there any other sports you'd like to participate in?

A: Right now, pole vaulting is my only focus.

Q: What other sports grab your attention?

A: I actually think it would be really interesting to try rock climbing, indoors and outdoors.

Q: How do you prepare or practice for pole vaulting?

A: I do sprints for speed several days a week. I also weight train and do plyometrics for the power. For the technique and timing, I sometimes go back to a gymnastics gym and do several drills that apply to pole vaulting. Then, of course, I do the actual pole vaulting several days a week.

Q: How has pole vaulting benefited your life?

A: Through pole vaulting I've met so many people, close to home and across the country. They have taught me so many things, and I have had so many exciting experiences from the places I have visited and competed in. These people and experiences are things that will always stay with me.

Q: How are pole vaulting and gymnastics similar?

A: When I first started jumping, I was still in gymnastics, so it was almost just like learning a new series on the beam or a new tumbling pass on the floor. It was thrilling, but I knew I had control of my body because of all the gymnastics training.

Q: What goes through your mind when you're in the air?

A: When I'm high up in the air, time usually goes so fast that there's really no time to think about what's going on in my mind other than what my coach has been telling me to do. Sometimes, though, I'll have that one jump where I know I've done everything right and it's such a thrill. Everything seems to go in slow motion. That's the best feeling.

Q: Is pole vaulting something you'll pursue in college?

A: Yes, I definitely want to pursue pole vaulting in college because if I've worked this hard already, there's no reason not to see it through until I see how far I can go. I know I'll always have the people and experiences to keep me in it, too.

Q: What do you plan on doing after high school?

A: I hope to be graduating from college and going on to a graduate school of some sort.

Q: What do you enjoy doing outside the sport and school?

A: I like going to the beach, meeting with friends, going to Starbucks and going to concerts.

Contact the writer: (714) 796-7804 or mmelendez@ocregister.com


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