Sarah Moosazadeh is a staff writer for the Atlanta Jewish Times.
Coach Matt Barry (middle) stands with Nick West (left) and Alon Rogow (right), who qualified for the National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championship.
Recent Davis Academy graduate Alon Rogow and Riverwood International Charter High School sophomore Nick West have qualified for the USA Track & Field National Junior Olympic Championships in pole vaulting after West placed 3rd and Rogow placed 5th in their age groups.
The boys are the first Davis alumni to qualify for the meet and will participate in nationals July 24-28 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Before qualifying for nationals, West and Rogow placed first and second, (in that order) in their age groups in the state at the USA Track & Field Junior Olympics regionals on Sunday, July 8. They competed against athletes from South Carolina and Florida.
At the meet Rogow broke West’s school record in the pole vault by jumping 11 feet 10 1/2 inches, which placed him fourth in all jumps in the middle school’s history in pole vault. Meanwhile West jumped 12 feet 10 inches in his meet, which led the boys to advance to sectionals.
“I have been coaching track and field for 15 years now and this is hands-down one of the proudest moments in my coaching career to take my former students and athletes to the nationals, which is something they worked so hard for this past year and now it is all paying off,” said Pole Vault Atlanta coach Matthew Barry.
“I am so impressed with the boys because they are so driven to come to practice in the summer, fall and winter, and at each meet they just get better. This also is impressive for me because the kids embrace the sport and want to continue doing this. They want to work hard to beat their friends’ records more than anything else.”
Barry has two more Jewish kids from Davis who have entered pole vaulting as well as kids from The Epstein School, The Weber School, and Atlanta Jewish Academy.
“I kind of laugh because it’s not like pole vaulting is an easy sport that doesn’t require athletic ability, but it’s a technical event and the kids learn the technical stuff really well and pay attention. We have had middle school state champions and my kids have won the pole-vault championships seven years in a row now. It’s like second nature for them now and they expect it,” Barry said. “The kids put in the effort and the time and are always ready to go.”