Good Sports: Local is the top ranked pole vaulter in California and is chasing redemption at state track meet

In high school pole vaulting, both the physics and physical ability are on display for Clovis West senior Elizabeth Funk.

"It's just a super fun sport and not a lot of people know about it so it's fun to show people what it is and they're like 'whoa, that's so cool'!"

Funk started pole vaulting her freshman year and quickly found a talent.

"I broke the freshman record by a foot and a half so I was like 'OK maybe I could do this'," she says.

After breaking the record, she had a talk with her coach Chuck Anderson about ramping up her training.

"I would have to hold her back. 'You can't work out on Saturdays, you can't work out on Sundays.' Because she would want to train every day."

Since then, Funk has continued to shatter the record books.

She currently holds the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior records at Clovis West. Earlier this year she broke the section record with a jump of 13 feet nine inches.

"For pole vault, you have to have a really strong mindset and really strong mental strength," she says.

That mental armor was put to the test at last year's state championship. In her qualifying jump, her pole snapped in two.

"I was super shocked when it happened. Like I never thought that would happen, especially on that pole. That wasn't even a really small pole for me so it was really unexpected."

"I got up and I tried again. I was really upset obviously that I didn't make it to the second day but I think it was a really good lesson and I know God had a purpose with that for me so I think this year it made me work a lot harder."

That hard work has Funk ranked number one in the state and fourth best in the country. Next year she's heading to San Diego State - one of the top track and field programs in the country.

"I think she has a lot of talent, I really do. I don't even think she's begun to reach her ceiling," says Anderson.

While she'd love to compete after college - with one high school meet left - she's focused on going out on top.

"It would mean so much. Last year with everything that happened at state I think it would be a really awesome comeback and it would mean so much. I feel like if I just go out there, relax and enjoy it, it's my last meet of high school, I just need to go out there and do what I know how to do and enjoy it," says Funk.
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