STAMFORD—Westhill pole vaulter Josh Appel has been working for four years with the hopes that the next few weeks will bring him to new heights.
Appel is currently the ranked third in the state in the pole vault with his eyes not just on the upcoming Class LL and State Open meets but beyond to the New England and maybe even national championships.
To qualify for New Englands, Appel would need to finish in the top six at the State Open, to qualify for Nationals, he has to clear 14-feet-8-inches, the national standard.
“I have been going about the same height since my sophomore year but hopefully this year I can get on a longer pole and go higher,” Appel said. “In your run, you have to go from a little further back. As you hold a little further and further up the pole, it’s a little trigonometry, the hypotenuse gets longer and you have to go further out.”
If it sounds complicated, it should come as no surprise that Appel, who is going to Cornell next fall, had to hustle back home after his jumps in Monday’s meet to study for the AP Calculus exam which he is set to take tomorrow.
Appel was jumping Monday in the annual Westhill-Stamford outdoor track meet, though he jumped alone for his three jumps as nobody on his team jumps near his height and Stamford had no pole vaulters.
Appel said despite not having direct competition in the meet, it was important for him as he gears up for the postseason.
He jumped a personal best 13-feet-6-inches Monday, just clipping the bar on an attempt at 14 feet later in the meet,
“You are always trying to go as high as you can but once you hit a new height, you get confident and you try to push yourself a little further,” Appel said. “I really want to go to Nationals. I had one jump today where my hips were over that height but my hips slammed into it because I was too far forward.”
Monday Stamford and Westhill competed in pole vault, javelin, discuss and shot put at Westhill.
The teams will run the track events Tuesday at Stamford High.
Stamford brought a group of young throwers Monday and the future looks bright if they stick with it.
“We had a bunch of PRs today including two freshmen and a senior who qualified for FCIACS today,” Stamford throwing coach Donovan Prawl said. “We are a young team with one senior, one junior and the rest sophomores and freshmen. We have a lot of youth and in a few years, we will be OK.”
Westhill junior Yeimy Gonzalez led the girls’ javelin with a toss of 88 feet.
Westhill throwing coach Kevin Deangelo was pleased with how his throwers performed.
“It was a good day,” Deangelo said. “We won every event except for the discuss, so, I was very happy overall. We had a few kids qualify for states and we have some good competitors.”