Hobart High School senior Elena Polizotto set a new Northwest Crossroads Conference record Tuesday evening with her first place, 11’3” pole vault. She and fellow Hobart athletes competed in the NCC Track & Field Championships alongside representatives from Lowell High School, Andrean High School, Highland High School, Munster High School, and Kankakee Valley High School.
“It really excites me for what’s next for sectionals and regionals and hopefully state, knock on wood,” said Polizotto about her performance. “It just gives me a little bit more confidence going into those bigger meets.”
She enjoys participating in NCC regional meets because all the athletes are so supportive of each other.
“I’ve never met a mean pole vaulter,” Polizotto said. “Everyone’s just really fun to jump with and it’s super encouraging.”
Proving her point, the whole crowd of competitors and fans erupted in cheers as she landed her successful, record-breaking attempt.
This is the second year in a row that Polizotto has broken the NCC girls pole vault record, beating out her previous personal of 11 feet, according to her coach James Johnston Jr.
Johnston comes from a family of pole vaulters and coaches. His father, James Johnston Sr. preceded his son as the vaulting coach at Hobart for over 40 years.
Riley Johnston, his son, also set a new conference record at the event with his 15’7” vault.
“This is what I’ve been doing my whole life,” Coach Johnston said. “We love pole vault.”
That love set a clear supportive tone for the regional conference competitions. He spent time with each and every vaulter after their jump, sharing jumping position demonstrations and other notes for their next attempt.
“There’s a lot of good sportsmanship,” said Hobart Athletic Director Mike Black, citing two competing runners who shared a hug at the end of one of the evening’s final track races.
Black sees events like Tuesday’s track & field meet as special, because the sport’s emphasis on individual performance fosters camaraderie between athletes from different teams.
At the end of the night, Andrean’s girls team placed 6th with 39 points, Kankakee Valley placed 5th with 92 points, Hobart placed 4th with 95, Highland placed 3rd with 97 points, and Munster placed 2nd with 129 points. Lowell’s girls team took first place with 145 total points.
Of the boys teams, Andrean placed 6th with 62 points, Kankakee Valley placed 5th with 72 points, Hobart placed 4th with 79.5 points, Munster placed 3rd place with 81.5 points, and Lowell placed 2nd with 148 points. Highland’s boys took first place with 151 points.