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High School Pole Labels

Started by mllegatt, April 07, 2010, 03:28:32 PM

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Hey Guys,
I was under the impression that older Altius poles were legal again (as long as the engraving is of contrasting color and there is a max handgrip indicator), but 5 of my vaulters couldn't compete yesterday because the officials had an email from NFHS stating that these poles that had been "grandfathered" in were no longer legal. Niether I, my head coaches, nor our AD has seen this communication. Anyone else having this problem?


Here is some more information:

At Armstrong we only have Gill poles and I got replacement stickers for all of them last summer.
Chris Milton
Eden Prairie HS PV Coach


I would take a picture of the pole(s), send it to Altius, and ask them for the remedy.  It seems like they have an interest in ensuring that their older poles are still legal.  Please post the outcome as many others who own Altius poles will want to know how Altius supports coaches and schools in this situation.

Gill sends a new sticker, for old gill poles in the same situation, if you fill out their form and pay them $5.  The form is at the bottom of the front page at Gill.  Here's a link.

To my knowledge, UCS Spirit does not offer a remedy for this situation.
Steve White
Flight Deck Athletics, owner
(763) 458-2932


The letter the officials had was the 2010 Track Rule Clarifications (which can be found on the bottom of MSHSL's Track Page).

"Altius poles: Older models of Altius poles did not display the weight rating for the pole in the form of a label, but rather through an engraving of the

Mike Soule

Actually UCS poles are the easiest to get a sticker for. What you do is take a photo of the engraving and email the picture to UCS. They will mail you out a pink weight label for you to place on the pole 6 inches down from the top. Bingo! You're in. Turn around time is remarkably fast. Here's the link for more from UCS.
There's a discussion on pole vault power that Bruce Caldwell from Essx posted that said he can provide weight labels for Altius poles made after 2003. The link to the thread is;
Hope this helps. It's quite the struggle right now. An official at a meet I was at yesterday approved a pole he shouldn't have and didn't approve one that he could have using the same reasoning he used for the one he approved. Print it out and bring the rule with you. It's definitely a hot button for the NHFS officials this year. Later..........Mike


I would like to go on record as saying the "weight-rule" and all this weight label, engraving, grip-rule, approving or disallowing poles is ridiculous and should be replaced.

The reason for all the fuss was (and continues to be) safety.  I would like to re-offer an alternative to the weight rule; an alternative that is safer.  

The "Vault Sector"
As in other events in track and field, performances only count when completed within the defined sectors, lanes, or zones.  Performances that go outside of these sectors lanes and zones are disqualified or called scratches.  Disqualification is motivation enough for athletes and coaches to stop the undesired behavior.

I envision a Vault Sector.  An official needs only to watch the vaulter and the clock.  If within the time allowed, the vaulter clears the bar, LANDS ON THE PIT, and does not knock it off with the pole, it is a make.  
--no wind calls--anyone strong enough to vault is strong enough to push a pole back or sideways under any conditions that are safe to vault in.  
--no misses do to aborted approaches (I think this is already in place)
--no grip-tape rule--anything an athlete does that HELPS grip should be encouraged
--no weight rule--use which ever pole you can that allows you to safely land on the pit.
--no grip rule--grip where you like (just land on the pit)
With no weight-rule, a smaller number of poles would accommodate a larger span of athletes
Steve White
Flight Deck Athletics, owner
(763) 458-2932


I completely agree, Steve!


And I totally agree. Someone is making a mess out of high school vaulting at a national level. Is it pole manufacturers trying to make more money??? Is it lawyers scaring the pants off of federations???? Is it scared parents of kids that should not be vaulting because they don't have the skill set??? Or is it a lack of common sense by some coaches that are not aware of the nuances of the vault and how it occurs????


I believe it is fear of litigation underpinned by a tough process that is hard to argue at face value, given the short attention-spans of the people who need to hear the long-answer.  Until it can be neatly wrapped up in a slogan or metaphor, we're stuck with it.

The legal standard for school-based responsibility and liability is "what would a reasonable person do" and "would a reasonable person have been able to predict the issue or danger?"  "Did the person responsible take reasonable precautions to prevent to issue or accident form happening?"  "Is the policy or behavior by the school/teacher/school within professional standards."

This vague language when applied to hazing looks like this:
--hazing is bad
--schools will create a policy to discourage hazing and punish those who haze.
--if hazing occurs, the school is not liable so long as they have a policy (a reasonable precaution) and enforce that policy when they learn of a violation.
--if they do not have a policy, or refuse to act when hazing is known to be happening, then the school is liable.

For poles:
--poles are rated by experts
--if the expert says that a pole cannot be used by kids heavier than the label, than a reasonable person (non-expert) would be liable, according to school-law-standards, if he/she puts a kid on too soft of a pole.

The rule is not good, and all experienced-vaulters know why.  That being said, following the rule is the only smart option; from a legal perspective.

Then there is the ethical issue of violating this rule.  I believe that using poles that illegal is cheating.  Same as allowing false-starts, not-enforcing exchange-zones, scoring scratched efforts in LJ, and steroid use.  All potentially reward the cheater at the expense of the rule-follower.  Cheating is not the answer, changing the rule is the answer.  

The one hidden justice with using poles that are under-weight is that kids tend to limit their performance and development and go lower.  The best kids every year, at every level, are on pole rated above their body weight.
Steve White
Flight Deck Athletics, owner
(763) 458-2932


I figure this is a good place to start.  I was talking with an AD over the past week and he had a conversation with Jody Redman.  He mentioned what had been happening with Altius poles and her response was that the old poles were fine as long as they meet the rule.  

So before this gets any longer.  Michelle was right and the officials that read the memo were wrong.


Thanks Rod
It's great to have the coach of the MANY Sauk Rapids state vault-champions participating
If the vault community unites, with one voice, maybe we can drive some of these issues instead of always having to react to them.
Steve White
Flight Deck Athletics, owner
(763) 458-2932


I'm glad we're all on the same page, but I know there is at least one official in Wisconsin that still adamantly believes that ALL Altius poles are illegal. I just hope I don't run into an official at Sections that believes the same.