Pennsylvania teen teaches herself to become pole vaulting champion

Ben Rohrbach
Prep Rally
Spring Church (Pa.) Apollo-Ridge High junior Reannah Martin is a self-taught pole vaulting champion. (Twitter)
Spring Church (Pa.) Apollo-Ridge High junior Reannah Martin is a self-taught pole vaulting champion. (Twitter)

Pole vaulting is hard enough as it is. After all, running top speed with a giant pole in your hands in order to launch yourself 10 feet into the air is no small task. Now, try doing it without so much as a coach, because that's precisely what Spring Church (Pa.) Apollo-Ridge High junior Reannah Martin has done.

The Vikings do not feature a pole vaulting coach on staff, so Martin learned by watching YouTube videos, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. As a sophomore last season, her first competing in the event, Martin won the 2013 Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League Class AA championship.

“It does stink sometimes knowing that I have to look to opponents at meets for help,” she told the Tribune-Review. “But I'm used to it now. “YouTube is a huge thing. I have other vaulters take videos of me. Then I try to go through the video and look on YouTube and compare. I just take what they do, and I try to do it.”

Martin has since shattered the previous school pole vault record of 8 feet, ultimately clearing 10 feet to win the WPIAL Class AA title by nearly a foot last year. After reportedly attending West Virginia's pole vaulting camp over the summer — and finally receiving some proper guidance — she cleared 9-6 in her first attempt this season and now begins the march toward matching last year's state title-winning vault of 12-6.

Come to think of it, the Apollo-Ridge High track team does have a pole vaulting coach: Reannah Martin.