A lot of dedicated time and work on a year-round basis has gone into making pole vaulting a staple event for the Phantoms in the Pioneer Athletic Conference.
One of those top pole vaulters is senior Myriah Bilodeau, whose specialty used to be the triple jump.
Bilodeau accepted the challenge of the pole vault and cleared 9 feet, 6 inches for a personal best in the event she has focused on since her freshman year.
Bilodeau qualified for the District 1 Championships this spring, but Phoenixville was only allowed to take three pole vaulters to the competition at Coatesville, and unfortunately she was the one left out.
Still, Bilodeau enjoyed a fine season and career at PAHS and has been chosen as The Phoenix Female Athlete of the Week.
She will be attending Drexel University to pursue a career in medicine.
"Mr. Singer has an awesome program," Bilodeau said. "It is great."
She said Drexel does not have a track program other than one at club status. She looked at other schools for track but decided to concentrate on academics.
"It was a hard decision because of a couple schools I looked at," Bilodeau said. "My major focus will be on school work."
Bilodeau cleared 9-6 at the PAC-10 Championships as a junior and did it again this year. The qualifying height for districts is 8-6 so increased numbers of girls are qualifying for the postseason showdown.
"It is independent," Bilodeau said. "You are still part of the team, but it puts a lot of pressure on yourself. I did soccer and softball, but pole vaulting puts it all on you. It was interesting and fun."
Phoenixville head coach Jack Kraynak discussed Bilodeau's achievements.
"She (Bilodeau) jumped as high as one of the other girls, but not as consistently," Kraynak said. "By rule we were only allowed three. It was a very, very difficult situation for the kids, coaches and parents. She has worked four years with a total commitment to pole vaulting. Talen and his group work in the summer, fall and winter, giving up weekends. We have such a strong program that we could have as many as five or six girls qualify every year. They may raise the height for districts.
"She is a nice girl, a good student and good leader. She is quiet and leads by example."
- BARRY SANKEY
Phoenix Staff Writer