Doug and SteveThis is at the Cutting Room, May 17th, 2013. Doug invited me to hear the Blushing Brides for his birthday.

Doug and I attended St. Joe's Prep from 1965 to 1969. As we waited at the bar for the show room to open, we talked "glory days". Doug and I were both on the track team. Doug still holds the record time for low hurdles, partly because they retired the event for men about 20 years ago. I reminded him I still held the pole vaulting record at 12' 6".

He informed me that this might not be the case anymore. I was incredulous.


On my return home after a truly fun evening, the Blushing Brides are amazing, I googled St. Joe's Prep and found the email of the current track coach, Curtis Cockenberg.

pole vaulting pole vaulting

From: <> To: track <> Sent: Sun, May 19, 2013
Subject: Pole Vaulting

Dear Mr. Cockenberg, My name is Steve McGraw. I went to the Prep from 1965 to 1969. I believe I still hold the pole vaulting record at 12 feet 6 inches. Is this true? I heard from a friend, also a Prep graduate, you had a strong field this year. Is my record in jeopardy? Are records displayed on the Prep website? Best, Steve

In a message dated 5/19/2013, writes:

Steve I remember the name. I graduated in 1971. You were a legend. We have evolved in that we now have an in ground box in the Multi purpose room , which I believed did not exist when you went to the Prep and which has been relocated. We have developed a strong program. Unfortunately the current record is 14'6. First record breaker was a Bob Koroly who went onto the naval academy and Chris Dougherty (currently at Villanova) They both cleared 14' 6". Currently we have a vaulter who has cleared 14'3" indoor. He will be competing at the PIAA Champs next Saturday. He was the PCL champ indoor and outdoor. I can't imagine how you vaulted, since as I recall we practiced at SJU gravel track and I don't recall pole vault pads..hmmm maybe over to the old Episcopal? - Curtis Cockenberg '71

To: <> Sent: Sun, May 19, 2013 Subject: Re: Pole Vaulting

Curtis, Thanks for the dreadful news. Obviously the poles are better today:) My bamboo pole is on display at the Smithsonian, so there. We did practice at SJU. The pit was very hard. Another reason for not wanting to go to high:) Thanks, Steve

To: <> Sent: Sun, May 19, 2013 Subject: Re: Pole Vaulting

oh my God...steve just realized I remember that pad9scraps of foam rubber in a net) and what we used to land in when we did high jump even sawdust pits at Southern. High jumping in the pool area. You were a pioneer and Kovatis was your coach. now they have fiberglass $500 or more per pole..You were crazy then and probably now... nowhere near the protection that they have with the pads...Are you in the area..we have to show you our indoor setup? If you did 12'6" then you are probably good enough to do 15 and higher...How did you decide to pole vault? I can't imagine Kovatis saying yes. - Curtis

To: <>; <> Sent: Tue, May 21, 2013 12:04 am Subject: Re: Pole Vaulting

Curtis, I choose pole vaulting because I lived in Haddonfield, New Jersey. Sounds strange, but it's true. My dad wouldn't let me play other sports because it would be about 10PM before I could make it home. I actually thumbed back and forth to school. I knew I was a pretty good athlete but was very frustrated that I couldn't play football or basketball. Also, remember the school burnt down in 1965 so the basketball team had to practice somewhere else. Anyway, I looked around and saw the pole vaulting record was about 8' 6". I thought, piece of cake. Got a pole and practiced at our local high school. My dad drove me to the meets, I'd win, he'd drive me home. Kovatis just appreciated the win.

I live in Manhattan, West 70th street. My sister still lives in Haddonfield. I visit her occasionally. I'd love to see the indoor setup.

I'll email you when I know I'll be there and let's plan a get-together. Maybe Doug can join us. It would be great to walk the halls with an actual record holder:) Best, Steve

Subject: Re: Pole Vaulting Date: 5/21/2013 From: Reply:

Great story and it would be great to walk the halls again SHIDOOBEE, Doug

pole vaulting pole vaulting

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