Outdoor state champion in pole vault last spring, Broadneck junior Jaren Baluyot became 4A indoor state champion this winter by clearing 13 feet at the 4A/3A state championship meet in February.
Athlete Spotlight: Broadneck Pole Vault State Champion Jaren Baluyot
Broadneck junior Jaren Baluyot can add a second state title to his resume.
A 4A state champion last spring in pole vault after clearing 12 feet, Baluyot improved on his own ability this winter by becoming indoor state champion at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex on February 21 by vaulting 13 feet.
Baluyot was the Bruins’ lone individual state champion and won every meet this winter, which included a county championship on January 24 at a height of 12 feet, 6 inches and a region championship at a height of 12 feet, 2 inches.
“To be able to finish my indoor season undefeated and to become a state champ too felt phenomenal,” said Baluyot. “The support of my friends, family, and opponents really got me to this point.”
Like many high school participants in the somewhat odd sport of pole vaulting, Baluyot hasn’t been pole vaulting for a very long time. He played soccer all growing up and continues to play with Broadneck Soccer Club, but he only started pole vaulting as a freshman. Baluyot’s older brother, Jordan Baluyot, competed in one season of vaulting at Broadneck, achieving a personal best of 11 feet, 6 inches. Jaren, with help from coach Dave Carter, has a personal best of 13 feet, 1 inch, which he plans on breaking this spring when he upgrades from a 13-foot, 6-inch pole to a 14-foot pole.
An honor student at Broadneck, Jaren said one of his favorite parts of competing in pole vault is the tight-knit pole-vaulting community, which fosters competition and growth in the sport in addition to social benefits.
“If I could point out one thing that I love about pole vault, it’d have to be the people I meet,” he said. “Pole vaulters are all intriguing in their own way, which makes them fun people to talk with. As my coach says, ‘Pole vaulters kind of have to be weird. I mean, they’re willing to fling themselves into the air, aren't they?’…The pole vault community in my region is quite supportive, so we always collaborate to make one another better. If you’re a vaulter, you will always have the help from another vaulter, no matter what school.”