By Brian Marshall
Zach Dinverno didn’t like the look of his opposition at the Grand Haven Beach Vault, considered the top pole vault event in the Midwest.
Dinverno, an upcoming sophomore at Lake Orion High School, competed in the 15-16-year-old group at the event on July 15. His division consisted of 21 vaulters.
“I heard there were seven people who went down from the upper division, so I thought there was no way I was going to get first. I didn’t even really think I was going to place,” Dinverno said.
Dinverno admitted being a bit scared before the vaulting began. He gradually shook off the intimidation factor as the vaulting went on.
“Toward the end I got 11 (feet), then 11-9, which was a p.r. That was really exciting. After that there were only two people left. Then I made 12 feet.”
That’s right, Dinverno improved his personal record by 12 inches to win the event with a vault of 12 feet.
Adam Russell wasn’t really surprised by Dinverno’s accomplishment. Russell coaches Dinverno at Lake Orion, but also works with him — as he does with 10-15 other vaulters from surrounding schools — out of season.
“I have been coaching this event for 10 years at a very intense pace nine months out of the year with much success,” Russell said. “No freshman male vaulter I have coached has ever jumped higher than 10 foot 6 inches. Zach cleared 12 feet. Annually, only one to five freshman boys in the entire state clear that height.”
Dinverno routinely clears the bar in another event.
“Zach is a natural born jumper. He high jumped 5-feet-11 inches this spring, best on the varsity track team and placing fourth at our regional and league track meets. He also has great focus and maturity for his age. Zach really enjoys this event and his family has been very supportive.”
Speaking of which, Dinverno has a unique bond with his father. Matthew Dinverno also competed in the pole vault and high jump in high school.
“He gives me a lot of encouragement. He’s kind of like my sport guy. He did pole vault in high school and that’s the reason I got into it. He high jumped too. I honestly just want to beat him. In pole vault he got 13-3, so I’m one foot, three inches from that. In high jump he got 6-4. I got 5-11 as a freshman. I’ll defintely be able to do that, next season hopefully.”
Just for good measure, Dinverno dabbles in bowling, where he averaged 195 for the Lake Orion team.
Despite his relative youth as a sophomore in high school, Dinverno has a definite plan for his future.
“I have to keep my grades in up order and get a scholarship for something,” he said. “As long as I keep my grades up, I’ll have a good chance of doing that.”
Dinverno wasn’t the only Lake Orion vaulter to excel in Grand Haven. Incoming freshman Sarah Griffin placed fifth out of 26 vaulters in the Girls’ 14-Under division. Griffin cleared a new personal best of 8 feet, 9 inches and had the best finish of any female Michigan vaulter that age.”
By Brian Marshall