After a deep breath, junior Michael Albinto explodes with a sprint, and with a long rod of about 10 feet long gripped close to his side, he hits his target, allowing him to launch his whole body about eight feet in the air, over the bar.

It’s not a sport like football or basketball, where you can gather a group of friends to enjoy a pick-up game in your backyard, or the park.

Pole vaulting is considered the most dangerous event in track and field. In fact, without a coach supervising a pole vault practice, students aren’t allowed to partake in the event.

In Albinto’s freshman year, his plan was to be the fastest sprinter on the track. He started out running 100 meter sprints. However, the pole vaulters at practice caught his attention. “I just wanted to try it out.”

This became the start of his love for pole vault.

Though it seemed inviting, his colleagues weren’t as welcoming. As a freshman, Albinto was considered a newbie, so he was ridiculed and taken as a joke by the more experienced vaulters. At the time, things weren’t getting any easier. There had been issues with getting the proper equipment and appropriate coaching for pole vault. Despite being made fun of along with other complications, Albinto was still willing to learn anything he needed to know to perform at his best. His determination didn’t allow him to stop doing what he enjoyed.

“He’s an over achiever,” pole vault coach, Arthur Harris said.

This spring is his third consecutive year, vaulting. Albinto started with seven foot high jumps. Currently, his personal best is 12 feet and 6 inches.

“He has come a long way in his two years,” Harris said.

Albinto and Harris share a close bond with each other, along with senior Lisa Espinoza, who has also been doing pole vault.

“I consider Michael more than a teammate,” says Espinoza. “He’s family.”

Espinoza is motivated and inspired, being around Albinto. “He pushes me to do my best.”

She says Albinto is an amazing athlete, and his coach says he’s a natural leader.

Now a veteran, he helps his teammates, especially by coaching beginning pole vaulters. Occasionally, he gives sprinters tips and advice on how to dart out of the blocks.