Salute to Seniors: Chris Koskinen

Name: Chris Koskinen
School: Yarmouth High School

What was your most memorable race/meet?

My most memorable meet was probably the regional one qualifier for the junior olympics in 2019. It was a windy day so I didn't expect to vault any PRs. I opened at a low height and still faulted twice before narrowly clearing it the third time. After a few more jumps I ended up clearing 13' to PR for the first time in over six months followed by 13'3", 13'6", and 13'9" to finally win the meet and sweep up four PRs in a day.

Who would you consider your biggest competition over your four years?

Within more local meets Griffin Bean and I were almost always neck to neck in competition, it was always a battle for 12' or 12'6". More importantly he was always a great person to be around and compete with. Senior year my competition would have been Jack Hansen since we were the only vaulters in class B to have cleared 14', but unfortunately he was injured in football season during the fall.

What was your greatest accomplishment?

I'd have to say Indoor States this year was my greatest accomplishment. At the past two indoor and outdoor state championships I no-heighted in the pole vault and usually failed to qualify for another event. The comeback I made this year though with a state title in the pole vault and state runner up by 0.01s in the 200m felt amazing. I had trained hard all summer and most of fall and to see that kind of hard work pay off in the end is just so satisfying.

If you could do it all over again what would you change about your xc/track & field career in high school?

Other than working harder I would definitely have started running at the USATF summer meets. Knowing which events I would end up doing very well in my senior year I would have started getting more serious about them earlier on in terms of commitment and training time dedication.

What were the most difficult obstacles you had to overcome?

For pole vault my hardest obstacle for a while was just finding opportunities to get more jumps in and finding a coach. In fact my freshman year I basically learned the basics of pole vaulting from summer camps and YouTube tutorials.

What will you miss the most?

The competition. I just loved being around the other pole vaulters and competing with such an amazing group. In my four years' experience with the event I have found that there is an especially strong bond between pole vaulters. Call it a shared trauma if you will, because it takes a certain amount of nerve, guts, intensity, and to a small degree stupidity, to run full speed down a runway, hit a target no wider than six inches, and let yourself be thrown over a bar several feet in the air. Being around other competitors who understand that makes pole vault all the more special and unique for me.

What advice would you give to younger athletes?

Find the events that you love and find the events that you are good at. If talent and passion overlap an event then commit to it, if this applies to multiple events then focus on just two or three and become great at them. Be a student of those events and do some research on their history, evolution, physics, and mechanics. Don't become narrow-minded.

What influence has your coach had with respect to your performance and overall life goals?

Had it not been for my coach I would never have known of the idea of "becoming a student of the event". He helped me look at the pole vault through several senses and avoid becoming narrow minded which so often leads to an early peak or regression later on. I learned to be strategic when going into a meet, I learned how to assess the atmosphere, myself at the moment, the competition, and my plan for opening heights.

How do you feel about missing your senior season due to the coronavirus?

It still pains me to think about the cancellation. Outdoor season this year was looking particularly exciting; I had good momentum coming from indoor and was eager to get my first shots at the Class B state record which was only inches away from my PR. Sufficient to say I was disappointed and sad to learn that I would never get those shots.

What are your college plans?

I committed to Connecticut College back in the fall so I will be vaulting, jumping, and sprinting in the NESCAC meets next year which I am really excited for.

Who would you like to say thank you to?

My coaches: Paul, Jenn, Cindy, and Carrigan

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