LAWRENCE — Madison Arndt was in shock at the seemingly outrageous recommendation of her older sister, Mackenzie Arndt, as she prepared to attempt a Central Catholic record vault.
“I was freaking out!” said Madison. “I weigh 140 pounds, so I use a 140-pound pole. After I missed on my first vault, my sister told me to use a 160-pound pole. That’s a huge jump. I said, ‘That is a pole made for a guy (vaulter). I can’t use that! It will give me too much of a push. That isn’t going to work.’ I said I trusted her, and I did. But I was really doubting her.”
Moments later, after sailing over the bar at 11-3, both sisters could celebrate.
“When she came down she just looked at me with a big smile and said, ‘I hate you!” said Mackenzie with a laugh. “She knew I was right. What she accomplished was really amazing. I knew she could do it and I knew she would break my record.”
At the New England track meet last Saturday, Arndt cleared 11-3 in the pole vault. That’s the second best height in area history, and the Central Catholic school record, unseating the mark set by her sister Mackenzie, who was there instructing her sister as a volunteer coach for the Raiders.
“That was my goal for this year,” sad Madison, whose family lives in Merrimac. “I wanted to reach 11-3. When I did it, it was amazing. Mackenzie is really why I started pole vaulting, so to break her record was really an honor. And it was great to have her guiding me the whole way.”
The Central Catholic record was at 9-0 when Mackenzie arrived as a freshman for the 2008 season. She broke that mark a season later, and by the end of her junior year had set a new school mark of 11-1 and was named an Eagle-Tribune All-Star. But that was as high as she would reach as a Raider, losing her senior season to injury.