Charles Lisa has only participated in Track & Field at Bloomfield for about six months and has spent even less time competing in the Pole Vault.
Despite such limited experience, Lisa can now call himself an Essex County champion.
At the Essex County Championships, Lisa secured the title on his first jump when he cleared 12 feet. Then, on his third and final attempt, Lisa broke a 49-year-old school record when he cleared 12-05.
“I came from basketball and my brother did track so my mom was like ‘go try track,’” Lisa said. “I started by throwing shot put and I was this little guy and I could throw it decently, but my coach (Terry Iavarone) was like ‘hey, we started a pole vault program last year. I think you have a good build for it and I think you could do it. I think I only had like two days of practice before my first meet and I cleared 8 feet and it was pretty cool.”
Iavarone admits that the Pole Vault might be the most difficult event to identify boys and girls who can compete and thrive in the event..
“You have to be fearless. You’ve got to have some core strength to kind of invert yourself and be in that position,” Iavarone said. “But it really is about being fearless, especially for the boys since you’re getting up there nine, 10, 11, 12 feet in the air. Fearless, good core strength and you just have to try it. Here’s the pole, here’s the technique. Let’s see what you can do.”
Lisa only had a handful of practices under his belt when he first competed in the Super Essex Conference Indoor Championship on Dec. 23 and jumped 8-0. By the end of the Indoor season, Lisa had improved to 9-6, an impressive improvement, but nothing compared to what he’s done this spring. A week earlier, he had cleared 12 feet for the first team when he finished first in Super Essex Conference American & Liberty Division Championships.
“It was pretty crazy,” said Lisa. “Coming out of the winter season, I was only jumping 9-6 as my PR. Now to know that I’m at 12-6, the progression was slow, but also really fast at the same time. Over the course of a month I went like two feet to my PR because I started to learn the technique, I broke it down, I started watching film on it and breaking it down. It was surreal these past couple of weeks.”
Lisa’s teammate Christopher Escobar took fifth in the Pole Vault at 10-06.
Bloomfield senior Cristian Armstrong won three medals at the Essex County Championships, taking third in the Triple Jump (43-06.00), fifth in the 200 Meter Dash (22.82) and he was the first leg of the Bengals 4th place finish in the 4×400 Meter Relay as he, James Fields, Kalel Deimedici and Nathaniel Brown ran a 3:26.33.
Deimedici took fourth in the 400 Meter Hurdles (57.65), Christopher Francois Jr. finished fifth in the Discus (131-09.00) and Zaire LaRue was sixth in the High Jump (5-06.00).
Nutley junior Sean McAloon took sixth in the Pole Vault (10-00.00) and senior Andrew Nicolette finished sixth in the Javelin (132-05.00).
At the Hudson County Championships, Kearny junior Robert Kennedy finished third in the 800 Meter Run with a time of 2:01.60 and Michael Charney finished fourth in the Discus with a throw of 113-09.00.
At the Bergen County Meet of Champions, Lyndhurst junior Tyler Wise finished third in the 400 Meter Dash at 50.95.
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Jason Bernstein | Observer Sports Writer
Jason Bernstein joined The Observer as its sports writer in March 2022, following the retirement of Jim Hague. He has a wealth of sports-writing experience, including for NJ Advance Media (nj.com, The Jersey Journal, The Star-Ledger.)