EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Sports

May 24, 2013

Flying high

Pentucket vaulter Attenasio reaching new heights in track and music

Pentucket's Attenasio reaching new heights

WEST NEWBURY — It’s not that Ali Attenasio does not feel the nerves as she prepares to perform one of her original songs for an audience, songs often written about the most emotional times in her life.

But when your greatest passion involves flinging yourself into the air, then falling 11-plus feet onto a mat, standing on stage with a guitar simply does not seem as terrifying.

“I just love flying through the air,” said Attenasio. “Sure, I’ve had my falls. They were scary, but nothing that is going to scare me away. I bounce back quick. Pole vaulting is like nothing else.”

This spring, the Pentucket junior and talented singer and multi-instrumentalist has flown to heights that few in the region have ever reached.

Two weeks ago, Attenasio vaulted a school record 11-feet in a dual meet with Masco, tied for third best for a female in Eagle-Tribune area history.

“She is amazing,” said Sachems coach Steve Derro. “She has had the no-fear attitude that a pole vaulter needs from the moment she walked in, and she has progressed an amazing amount in the last three years. The sky is the limit for Ali. We have no idea where she is going to peak.”

A competitive gymnast in her youth, the 5-foot-3 Attenasio could not wait to try pole vaulting when she arrived in high school. But, even with her background in high-flying sports, she admits learning to vault was a daunting task.

“It’s very difficult at first because there is no real way to ease you into pole vault,” she said with a laugh. “It’s kind of just, ‘Here’s a pole. Run at the pad and see if you can plant and get off the ground.’”

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