When it comes to pole vaulting at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport level, Trinity Western University is on the rise.
This past fall, the TWU track and field program took a big step forward in terms of its pole vaulting future with the installation of a pole vault box inside the Spartans' on-campus David E. Enarson Gymnasium.
The box was cut into the floor of the Spartans' old gym.
While the pit still needs to be set up and taken down each time it's used, it provides the TWU vault-ers an opportunity for invaluable training within a controlled environment.
And with the addition of the box, TWU is now the only university in B.C. to have an indoor pole vault training facility.
"Pole vault is very much a precision sport and because of that, the requirement to have an environment that is consistent is really important," said Spartans' coach Laurier Primeau. "We're looking for 18 degrees Celsius every day we jump and we're looking for our athletes to be in a state where they are well rested and not fatigued.
"The fact we can jump indoors where we have temperature control and we aren't exposed to the elements is huge. All of these things are going to make big performance differences down the road."
Combined with the fact the Spartans also have a dedicated pole vaulting coach, in former Canadian national team vaulter Rob Pike, TWU could be on track to becoming a pole vaulting power in the CIS.
This year, the team consists of four high-quality internationals including Rebecca Marchant (Melbourne, Australia), Ivonne Zuniga Padilla (Mexicali, Baja California), Jesse Phillips (Anaheim, Calif.), and Jamie Sinclair (Glasgow, Scotland).
On the women's side, Marchant has a personal best (PB) vault of four metres while Zuniga Padilla has a PB of 3.75m.
Both are expected to be in the mix for medals at the Canada West and CIS championships.
At last seasons' CIS championships, Laval's Melanie Blouin won gold with a vault of 4.05m.
On the men's side, Phillips has a PB of 4.80m while Sinclair's PB is 4.55m.
Like the TWU women, the men will be striving for the podium at both the conference and national championship meets.
Last year, Saskatchewan's Lane Britnell won the CIS gold medal with a vault of 4.95m while Western's Matt Diston took silver with a vault of 4.90 and Toronto's Townsend Bernard nabbed bronze with a vault of 4.75m.
The Spartans' first competition of the track and field season will be Jan. 12 when they will compete at the University of Washington Indoor Preview at Dempsey Indoor.