Coulthard vaulting to new heights for CHS
by SARALYN NORKUS Banner Sports Writer
May 21, 2014 | 858 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
spt Coulthard pole vault

CHS POLE VAULTER Maddie Coulthard clears the crossbar during a practice run. The Cleveland sophomore is the first female pole vaulter for the school and has qualified for the state pole vaulting championships after only a month of working at the event.  Banner photo, SARALYN NORKUS
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It was only one month ago that Cleveland sophomore Maddie Coulthard first took an active interest in the pole vault.

In just a few weeks of work, Coulthard went above and beyond anyone’s expectations and “vaulted” her way into the TSSAA State Track and Field Meet in Murfreesboro.

“I know I’m not going to be the best girl at state, but it will still be a really good experience,” Coulthard commented. “After a month I didn’t expect to pick it up so well, but getting the chance to compete against girls at state who are really experienced will be great.”

The sophomore is making history with every takeoff, as she is the first female pole vaulter in the rich Cleveland High School athletic tradition, according to coach Casey Price.

While she is no doubt a rookie in the event, Coulthard has the pedigree to back her ambition in the sport.

Coulthard’s father, Torr, was a top pole vaulter at Virginia High School in Bristol, Va.

“I mostly got into it because my dad was a pole vaulter,” Maddie admitted.

In his prime, Torr posted a personal best of 14 feet and to this day, his school record of 13 feet, 9 inches has yet to be broken.

The elder Coulthard is back in familiar territory once again, only this time using his knowledge to help coach his daughter to success.

“It seemed like this might be right up her alley,” Torr commented. “I think it’s more attitude than anything else. You have to be athletic, strong and a little bit courageous. She’s all of those things so I think she can do it. We have high hopes for her.”

Since Cleveland has no facilities for Coulthard to practice, the state-bound Lady Raider has been granted access to Bradley Central’s pole vaulting pit.

When she first began wanting to take up the pole vault, Maddie had to prove to Coach Price that she had the drive and dedication to be fully committed to the event.

“When I first got interested in pole vaulting (Coach Price) wanted me to show him that I could go out and practice on my own. Then when he saw that I was really passionate about it, he got really excited and started working with me and got me into the subsectionals,” Maddie stated. “I definitely think that Coach Price is the reason that I’m on the track team. Ever since I was in middle school he has encouraged me, and he’s one of those coaches who believes in you right from the beginning.”

On May 8, Coulthard had her first taste of success at the Section 2 Sub-Sectional at Rhea County.

“When first getting started I was just trying to get over the crossbar. When it came to getting higher, I had to start working more on the technique. It’s a lot more difficult then you would think,” the sophomore explained.

Competing against two other pole vaulters from Rhea County, Coulthard cleared a height of 7 feet, 6 inches to claim first place and a trip to the sectional at Riverdale.

A week later, Coulthard tied with three other girls at 7 feet, which was enough to advance her to the Spring Fling.

For Coach Price, the trip to Murfreesboro will be very beneficial for the young pole vaulter.

“It’s a learning experience. She is going up there to compete with the top athletes in this event in the state. For her being only a sophomore I want her to go up there, enjoy it and do her best,” Price commented.

Maddie will compete in the state pole vault championship this afternoon, where the qualifying heights range from 7 feet to just over 12 feet.

“My hopes are to get above my PR of 7 feet, 6 inches and I’ve been practicing with above 8,” Coulthard declared regarding her personal record. “I will be in the running and possibly tying with some girls if I can go above 8 feet.”