NEW UPDATE ON THIS STORY FROM ERICA (10/16/14): “I’ve had great success in the last year as well! Devin King broke the national indoor record, got 4th at world juniors, and cleared 18 ft twice as a high school kid. Two of my high school junior boys jumped over 16 ft, and Madison jumped 13’3″. And, I got married! What a fun year!”
UPDATE (6/27/13): Congrats to former Olympian Erica Bartolina for being selected to coach Team USA vaulters at the World Youth Championships in Ukraine! Erica is one of the sport’s most inspirational athletes and best coaches. Her own vaulter, Devin King, will lead the squad as the US World Youth Trials champion.
If you’re ever fortunate enough to travel waaay down to southeast Louisiana, deep into Cajun Country, you’ll find one of the most beautiful places on the entire planet to pole vault.Nestled under mossy trees east of Baton Rouge lies the awesome training facility of Bartolina Athletics. Here boys and girls of all ages and abilities can be found on the runway, day and night, launching themselves to greater and greater heights.
The vaulters at Bartolina Athletics are taking the same flight path as their coach, Erica Fraley [Bartolina], who competed for the USA in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. Her love and knowledge of the event motivates them to achieve their goals and learn positive life lessons along the way.
And, her athletes are also following the same trajectory as the fictional heroine Maggie Steele in Maggie Vaults Over the Moon.
The new teen sports novel by Grant Overstake has been widely endorsed by pole-vaulters for its realistic depiction of the world’s greatest sport; and by others who identify with the heroine’s courageous struggle. Kirkus Reviews calls Maggie Vaults Over the Moon, “A fine novel about perseverance in sports and in life.”
Along with sharing her own remarkable story, Coach Bartolina recently used the book’s heroine to help inspire her vaulters. Both Bartolina, in real life, and Steele, as a fictional character, overcame great adversity as they vaulted themselves over the moon. Continue reading