For a moment it was looking like I would have the opportunity to photograph another record-breaking pole vault at the Arcadia Invitational. I had received a text from a family friend that their daughter, Natalie Ramirez, was starting her warmup for shot put. I have been trying to get some photos of Natalie for a long time. And as I walked across the infield headed toward the shot put area, they were raising the bar on the pole vault to 14′ 8″ for Chloe Cunliffe of West Seattle. If cleared, it would be a National Record height.
So I paused as they measured the bar, hoping to capture the jump against the setting sun before the official Shot Put even began. It was not to be. The announcement came that they needed a USATF official to ratify the height and I knew that would make me late for Natalie’s throws. I didn’t want to miss them, not even for what would certainly be an epic shot.
As Natalie and the rest of the invitational shot put group began making their throws, a cheer went up from the stadium crowd and a national high school pole vault record had been set. I’m not disappointed.
Watching Natalie throw gave me a whole new appreciation for the beauty and athleticism of this field event. Shot put is about power, for sure. But the skill required to nail the footwork, the form required to harness that power… it’s amazing. The photo above doesn’t properly capture the combination of power and grace. Nicely done Natalie.
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