Wildcat Voices: Field Kasrel ’22 Vaults Into Track State Championship and the Future
If you don’t know Field Kasrel WHS ’22, you will wish you did. The Owl “met” Field during the pandemic when he volunteered to help create a spreadsheet of neighbors needing help, and matching volunteers to these needs. While he came up with an awesome sheet, the Board of Health did not approve the project due to worries about spreading Covid. That part is not important, but the helpfulness and community-mindedness of this Wildcat did. The Owl regrets that she did not think earlier of highlighting many of the awesome ‘cats who are graduating from Weston next week…but will attempt to make up for lost time.
Last week, the Owl posted a summary of the best Dual County League (DCL) track championship ever (okay, maybe I’m biased) when Field and two teammates were pole-vaulting under the lights, ending up with Field crowned DCL champion for pole vault.
As Pole Vault Coach Condakes summed up: “Field tied a 44-year-old school record in the pole vault last week. He had to overcome an arm injury and was still able to clear a new personal best of 13’0” and won the event. He had “ice in his veins” that night. He also has the distinction of being undefeated in pole vault at the State Relays with three first-place finishes in his three seasons (there was no outdoor season his sophomore year in 2020 due to Covid).
The Owl caught up with Field by email on the eve of the Division 5 Track Championships, which will take place at home (!!!) in Weston on Thursday and Saturday afternoons. The schedule for the track meet is at the end of this story.
Owl: When did you start pole vaulting?
Field: “I started pole vaulting freshman year of High School. When I was in the middle school track, I always watched the high schoolers vault during our practices and thought it was the coolest thing. I was not even thinking of trying out the vault in High School. But my friends somehow convinced me to try it, which led me to get good and excel in that sport. I have to thank Coach Condakes for all that he has done for me and for spending hours coaching me in the vault. Especially for some of the meets that went to midnight.“
When the Owl reached out to Coach Condakes about Field, his answer was immediate.
“When I met Field back in 2019, I knew right away that he was and is an exceptional athlete. From the day he first picked up a pole, he looked like a natural and he has exceptional body control when he’s up in the air. I’m not surprised to see how he’s progressed and turned into one of the top pole vaulters in the state. He’s the type of young man that makes it rewarding to be a coach,” said Coach Condakes.
Owl: Of all the events you do (Long Jump, Pole Vault, 4×100 and 100), which is the most challenging and why?
Field: “The event that is the biggest challenge for me would be the Pole Vault. Learning to trust your body and your pole in order to get over a bar is very hard. When you first begin, you learn how to run with a pole. Usually, you start off holding the pole at about 10 feet or so. In order to get off the ground, you must learn to be comfortable and confident in your approach and learn to get as much speed as possible while staying in control of your body and pole. Then you plant the pole into the box, jump, and drive into the pole with your arms over your head extended so that it causes a bend in the pole. You use the bend to then roll your back in mid-air as you get inverted. You then turn over onto your belly as you go over the bar and crunch so that you get as much height as possible over the bar. One of the hardest things for me was getting inverted. If you get enough speed and you have a good drive into the box and push the pole, your body allows you to get inverted and therefore get the maximum height. It is definitely scary at first to get inverted and see the ground below you. You must have very good upper body and lower body strength, core, and the will to allow your body to contort in mid-air while trusting physics. Pole vault is not only demanding on your body but also very mentally challenging. A lot of vaulters are capable of achieving high heights but may not perform well because they are thinking about all the steps in the pole vault and not trusting their capabilities. There are definitely days where I doubt myself and literally have practices where I cannot get off the ground. But this event teaches you to learn the capabilities of your body, mentality, trust, and perseverance. “
Owl: Tell us more about the big night at DCL Championships and how you came back from injury.
Field: “Injuring my arm on the first jump during a huge meet was disconcerting. On the first jump, I came down on the bar hitting my funny bone. I immediately felt pain shooting up my arm through my nerves and I literally could not feel or move my hand. You always want to do well in a meet, especially a big championship where your team is relying on you for points. It was definitely hard for me to keep going. I had amazing coaches to support me and talk to me about the next steps. We decided to skip my opening height at 11 feet 6 inches in order to get treatment from Riz, our amazing athletic trainer, and to get back into the mindset. I was definitely worried that I would not be able to vault anymore, especially during a jump-off, but the coaches and I decided that we should go for it and see how it goes, but we will stay cautious in order to minimize future injuries. At first I felt like dropping out, and my coaches asked me if I wanted to. But I really wanted to try and get back into the meet as I knew I would regret it if I didn’t. Forcing myself to jump was painful, but the adrenaline and the support I got from everyone made me feel more confident. In the end, I PR’d twice and tied the boy’s record for pole vault.“
Owl: What’s up for you after graduation in a little over a week?
Field: “After graduation, I will be attending the University of Pittsburgh for Criminal Justice and Psychology. I decided to not pursue Track and Field in college due to time commitment but I may change my mind sophomore year when I am more settled in. But when I come home over the summer and vacations, I definitely want to keep vaulting at Patriot Pole Vault which is our local vault academy as well as jump with Coach Montrose at his Bounce Squad academy at my High School Track. I have to thank Coach Monz, Coach Montrose, Coach V, Coach Condakes, Coach Mitchell, and David Delgizzi. Without all their help and support, I would not be able to accomplish all my achievements and be the best athlete I can be. ”
And yes, the Owl went back for some final thoughts from Coach Condakes:
“Field has been one of our leaders for over two years now and is an integral part of our team. He is one of the top long jumpers and pole vaulters in a very competitive Division 5 and he also anchors our Boys 4×100 relay. We count on him to bring his best every day and he consistently delivers. He’s one of the reasons why our boys have been so successful this spring and I see every day that a lot of the underclassmen follow his example. We’re all really looking forward to seeing how he does this weekend.”
Field will be competing in the pole vault, long jump, and the 4×100 meter relay. The entire meet schedule follows:
MIAA State Division 5 Championship – Thursday May 26 and Saturday May 28