Aiden Hurlburt: vaulting his way into states

Video provided by Aiden Hurlburt.


Aiden Hurlburt recently won Districts for Emmaus. Photo provided by Aiden Hurlburt.

Maximus McGrath, Sports Editor

Aiden “AJ” Hurlburt has been a standout sophomore pole vaulter for the Emmaus track and field team.  Hurlburt has been jumping for almost four years as a member of Vertical Assault, a pole vaulting gym located in Bath, Northampton County.

Training six days per week paid off, as Hurlburt just won districts for Emmaus while participating in his first full season on the team.  Hurlburt looks to continue his success in the upcoming state competitions.

Stinger: Why did you start pole vaulting?

Hurlburt: My sister is the one who was first interested in pole vaulting.  I thought it was an interesting idea, so I tagged along one day to try it out.  My sister never actually got into pole vaulting herself, but I decided to pursue it.  My mom talked to me about going to Vertical Assault one day, and I have enjoyed it ever since.

Stinger: What is your favorite aspect of pole vaulting?

Hurlburt: The support that I received from everyone on the team and my family is easily the best part.  Everyone has each other’s backs no matter what and that feeling of support and encouragement almost makes it feel like a second family.  On the Emmaus track and field team and at Vertical Assault, everyone supports each other while training, and the environment that it creates makes the sport enjoyable.

Stinger: How do you prepare for a meet?

Hurlburt: I really focus on my diet leading up to a meet.  I have to feel good in order to perform to my best ability.  I balance out what I need to eat to ensure that I will not have any unwanted issues when the time comes.  I have gotten shin splints recently, so taking care of that along with the use of KT Tape is something that I need to do leading up to events.

Stinger: What has this season been like with COVID-19?

Hurlburt: The season has been about as normal as we could have hoped.  We do have to wear masks to meets and at practices, but that has become normal at this point.  Each athlete gets two tickets to invite people to come and watch in order to limit spectators, but that is about all that is different from a normal season.

Stinger: What are some challenges you faced this season?

Hurlburt: Shin splints were my biggest challenge.  I never really had them before this season so it was a big adjustment for me to learn how to perform while dealing with them.  I have learned a lot about how to take care of them, but by the end of the season my shin splints worked out.

Stinger: What are your goals for the remainder of the season?

Hurlburt: I would like to hit another personal record by the end of the season, but I would not be too disappointed if it did not happen.  I really want to place at states.  That would really end the season on a high note.  I am not too sure if that will happen either, but that is the goal.

Stinger: How has pole vaulting impacted your high school experience?

Hurlburt: I have met a bunch of new and really amazing people.  My new teammates and friends have definitely made one of the largest impacts on my high school experience.  The competitive nature of pole vaulting for Emmaus is the other thing that has made the biggest difference.  We have many more practices at the high school, but the training at Vertical Assault is more technique-based.  Both have played a role in how far I have come from the beginning.

Stinger: What is your favorite memory from this past season?

Hurlburt: The District meet was my biggest highlight of the year, where I hit my new personal record of 13’ 6”.  I had set that as my goal for the season, so it was a great feeling to accomplish that.  The whole team was there to cheer me on while I jumped and I will always remember that feeling.

Stinger: What are your future plans for pole vaulting?

Hurlburt: I want to pole vault through the rest of high school as well as try to go to college while still jumping.  I would love to be on a collegiate track and field team, but I do not think I will do anything past college.