Saturday February 24, 2018

Published in Vaulter magazine, June 1, 2016

Diamara Planell

Diamara Planell after winning the silver medal at the Ibero American Athletic Championships, 2016

by Adele Correale San Miguel

When Diamara Planell Cruz vaulted the Olympic A standard on April 16, 2016, a small commonwealth in the Caribbean rejoiced.

After clearing 4.5 meters at the Mt. Sac Relays in California, Diamara (dee-ah-mar-a) became the 18th athlete to join the delegation from her native Puerto Rico, and the first woman to compete in the pole vault for the island in the Olympic Games.

A 4-time All American, Diamara will graduate from the University of Washington, Seattle this month with a degree in sociology and a minor in psychology. Her achievements though, did not come in haste.

By the time Diamara was 16 years old she had exactly one recorded mark in the vault. Pole vault was still a male only sport in Puerto Rico and while she jumped an impressive 8’6” at her first meet, her coach did not want her to continue uncontested in an event that did not score for the team. For her junior and senior years, Diamara moved to California. It was there that she picked up a pole again, found a coach, and determinedly finished her high school career with a mark of 11’6”.

She hoped to compete for a Division 1 program, specifically for Coach Pat Licari at UW. But sometimes dreams are delayed.

Diamara Planell

Diamara Planell

New to the states and the confounding college process, Diamara was unable to gain admittance to UW the first time around. She attended San Jose City College for two years where she won the California State Community College title twice. Diamara stayed focused, and in the fall of 2014, transferred to UW-Seattle. Since then, she has been the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation champion for 2016, Pac-12 runner-up in 2015, and the Pac-12 champion, all while proudly competing for the Puerto Rican national team and holding the country’s record.

Diamara made this happen. This girl competes. Whether on the runway or in front of the media, Diamara is fully present. Her pole vault dreams intersected with Olympic opportunity because head games and self doubt have no place on her runway. She possesses the composed determination of a campeona, a champion. According to Coach Licari, she has that extra something when it comes to competing:

“Diamara is very talented and very competitive. She …

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Seventeen of our vaulters competed this past weekend at the NCHSAA and NCISAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships.   70% of these athletes went from zero pole vaulting to the state meet in less than 12 months!

There were 5 PR’s (including one of a whopping 18″), 4 tied PR’s, 4 misses at their PR’s, and two 2nd place finishers.  We are very proud of our vaulters and excited for their sense of accomplishment!

Chelsea Johnson of Durham School of the Arts

Boys – NCHSAA 4A
Matt Dillon – Broughton – 2nd, tied PR.

Girls – NCHSAA 4A
Midori Kirby – Panther Creek – 4th, tied PR
Chloe Franks – Enloe – 6th
Skyler Noble – East Chapel Hill – 10th

Boys – NCHSAA 3A
Bret Parks – White Oaks -3rd, 12″ PR
Dillon Kopec – Chapel Hill – 7th, missed at PR

Girls – NCHSAA 3A
Dana Davis – Cedar Ridge – 8th, missed at PR

Boys – NCHSAA 2A
Ryan Laatz – Carrboro, 14th, missed at PR

Girls – NCHSAA 2A
Chelsea Johnson – Durham School Of Arts, 6th – Tied PR

Boys – NCISAA 3A
Carter Mathis – Cary Academy – 2nd
Christian Sodano – Cary Academy – 4th, 6″ PR
Aaron Rash – Cary Academy – 7th 18″ PR
Ian Brundige – Cary Academy – 16th, 6″ PR
Matt Lang – Ravenscroft – Tied PR

Girls – NCISAA 3A
Madi Rocket – Cary Academy – 4th
Aly Haferty – Cary Academy – 8th, missed at PR
Liz Uys – Cary Academy – 10th, 3″ PR…

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