She was able to leave the ground as a freshman, but with a personal best of just 7-6 she barely qualified for states, and did not clear the opening height at the Cape Ann League Meet.
One week after CALs, however, Attenasio exploded onto the scene by winning the Eastern Mass. Division 3 states with a 9-0.
“It just all clicked that day,” said Attenasio, who also runs hurdles, does the long jump and throws the shot put. “I got three personal bests and ended up taking first out of nowhere. Everyone was pretty surprised because I was a freshman. The coaches were all about as shocked as I was. It was very exciting.”
Despite battling back problems as a sophomore, she was still able to set a school record by vaulting 10-3 and place third at the Division 3 EMass. meet. But she busted that mark in a big way on May 6 of this year against Masconomet.
“First I hit my personal best, then I decided to try 10-6 as an experiment and cleared that on my first try,” said the West Newbury resident. “So we decided to go up to 11-0 just for the heck of it, and I got that on my first try. It was crazy.
“I’m pretty sure I was off the mat just as soon as I hit it because I was so excited the bar was still on. I jumped up and hugged my coach. It’s kind of insane to be one of the (region’s all-time) best. I can’t even fathom it. There are so many fantastic athletes from the area.”
With EMass. Division 3 meet this weekend and All-States up in a week, Attenasio now has her eyes set even higher. But she knows success in the pole vault is about constantly evolving.
“I want to keep improving and get to 13 feet,” she said. “The thing about pole vaulting is there is always new forms and new techniques to learn. Once you have mastered one, you can get a few heights out of it. Then you have to master something new. You have to change your form every time, but I want to get better.”