ORCHARD PARK, NY (WKBW) — When the 2019 high school outdoor track & field season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, coaches and student-athletes were left without practices, meets, and access to school facilities. Many of these athletes, especially pole vaulters, needed a place where they could keep up with their skills.
That's where Hamburg modified girls coach Chuck Mancabelli stepped in.
"There's some sports where you can take off and go out and do prety competitively right off the bat," he said. "Pole vault's not."
In Mancabelli's Orchard Park backyard is a runway and pit he built during the winter. It's come in handy with several area athletes utilizing the facility as a way to stay in shape and get better. Mancabelli holds 90-minute sessions several times a week and provides much needed one-on-one instruction.
"We've been working a lot on my technique, keeping my legs together, and heels to the sky," Sweet Home rising senior Eve Giancarlo said. "Coach Mac's just been really helpful to me in making these improvements."
All of the athletes, including Giancarlo, had to sign a waiver that included a COVID clause and need to bring and use their own equipment. The mats are also disinfected between each session.
As of now, the indoor and outdoor track and field seasons are still on. The indoor season, a winter sport, will begin practices and competitions in late November.