USA Today had a series in its paper a couple of years ago stating that one of the hardest things to do in sports was pole vaulting. Chris Centrich is a senior pole vaulter for the University of Miami and can attest to the difficulty of his sport.
“The pole vault combines many different abilities,” Centrich said. “To be a great pole vaulter you need to be able to run well, jump well, and have good body control…but you must also possess the courage to run down the runway as fast as you can and jump holding onto the pole.”
Centrich said that track and field as a whole does not get enough respect at UM. The football team is the media face of the university at the expense of other sports.
“I do not think track and field gets the credit it deserves at UM,” he said. “At a school like Miami with a national caliber football team that is always in the headlines, many people forget there are other sports. We all understand that football brings huge recognition to our school. However, many people forget that our team spends just as much time and effort working out and we often don’t get much recognition for our commitment.”
One of the biggest challenges Centrich has faced in his athletic career is the transition from high school to college. In high school he won the New York State Championship in pole vaulting during his senior year. He obviously wants to accomplish more while at college, but only has one season to go.
Life after college is a big question for all students, and Centrich is no exception. He is a double major in accounting and finance and is looking to pursue a career in these fields after the year is over.
Until then, Centrich finds himself both a competitor and a mentor to the newer athletes coming into the program.
“Every athlete has their own way of preparing for competition and I don’t try to teach them how to do that,” he said. “I do try to help them understand some of the differences from high school athletics, as well as how the program at UM runs. I try to help the younger guys get through some of the difficulties since it is such a big change. I found it helpful to have the seniors give me advice as to what it will be like during my first year here and I try to do the same for the freshmen.”
Competing on the college level during a senior year is not an easy thing to accomplish. Much hard work, time and dedication are needed to balance a difficult schedule. This is why Centrich is so thankful to have wonderful parents that have supported him the whole way.
“Without my parents I would have never gotten to where I am today and I am truly thankful to them for all their support over the years,” he said.
The track and field team will be competing in the Florida Relays in Gainesville this weekend.
Denis Brown can be reached at email@example.com.