Vaulting to new heights
BY SEAN BRAY Sports Editor In setting a new personal best in competition, 19- year- old Brennan Seguin, who hails from Martintown, garnered gold at the national university track and field meet, last weekend in Manitoba.
The student- athlete at the University of Guelph graduated last June from Char-Lan DHS, in Williamstown. It was there that his interest in pole vaulting took hold and his skill was honed, under coach Rory Blackadder, who couldn’t be more proud of Seguin’s breakthrough.
“His competitiveness and athleticism are second to none. I know Brennan and his coach [ James Sniatenchuk of the Gryphons program] have worked really hard this year, and it has certainly paid off, based on the results.
“It was an incredible experience watching a former athlete break the 5-metre barrier and win the national championship in his freshman year.
“I am so glad that everything worked out for Brennan at the University of Guelph. I’m excited to see what he will accomplish in the next couple of years.”
Seguin entered the March 9 competition as the OUA (Ontario) bronze medallist, having cleared 4.81 metres. Western’s Dan Gleason nabbed gold (4.86 m).
Both vaulters improved their marks at the national (U-Sports) meet, with Gleason topping out at 4.90 m for bronze.
Spencer Allen, from the University of Alberta, took silver, clearing 4.95 m.
After Seguin cleared 5 m on his first attempt, the bar was moved up to 5.05 m. Allen took three cracks at that height, but was unable to have a clean jump, securing gold for the Gryphon.
Seguin admits to some nerves heading into the competition, saying he was more nervous than at past meets and practice sessions. However, once he got onto the runway and warmed up, he was ready to go – all business.
Despite it being a competition, the teen notes that the atmosphere “was amazing” with plenty of support from other vaulters and his Guelph track and field teammates. (Guelph won the overall U-Sports championship, as well as the men’s and women’s banners.)
Reflecting back to his start in the sport in high school, Seguin says he recalls he and other vaulters joking around that someday they would love to clear 5 metres, never really expecting to achieve it.
When he did, on Saturday, he says he was in shock.
A video of his jump, including his reaction, can be viewed on our website.
The Martintown native’s father and step-mother were in attendance, making the accomplishment all the more special.
Seguin, who’s studying sociology at Guelph, says that he got to spend a little time with his family, before celebrating with teammates. He’s now enjoying a week off from training, but notes he will get right back into his routine next week, as he aims to qualify in at least one of several competitions, including the U23 North American track and field meet ( in Mexico), the World University Games (in Italy), and the Pan-Am Games (in Peru).
On his success this season at Guelph, he thanks his pole vaulting coach, Sniatenchuk, and Gryphons track and field team head coach Dave Scott-Thomas, who was named U-Sports Coach of the Year.
Blackadder continues to train local pole vaulters, including at Char-Lan DHS.
When asked for his advice to young athletes taking up the sport, Seguin says he encourages them not to give up, to keep trying, and keep working at it.
NATIONAL PODIUM: Martintown’s Brennan Seguin, centre, is flanked by Spencer Allen, left, and Dan Gleason, atop the podium at the U-Sports pole vault awards ceremony.