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Karlie Carlson

By Jenelyn Russo
OCCatholic.com
Photo Credit: Bill Alkofer

When Nolan Blachowski began high school, he didn’t envision he would end up on the track team as a pole vaulter. Now the Servite High School rising senior is a Trinity League champion in the specialized event. 

“Freshman year I did football, and I joined track in the offseason to maintain my athleticism and speed,” says Blachowski. “The head coach said we needed some pole vaulters. I was looking at it, and I thought it was really interesting. I tried it, and I really enjoyed it. So I just rolled with it. It was lots of fun.” 

Blachowski enjoys the uniqueness of the sport, and while he has mastered the basics, he admits his technique is still a work in progress. Mastering the specifics takes time, and the 17-year-old learns something new each day of his training. 

“It’s really unique because everyone knows about it, but there’s so much technique,” says Blachowski. “Every day there’s something new with it, and that’s what I really enjoy about it. It’s very sophisticated.” 

His commitment to his disciplined training has paid dividends for Blachowski. In his junior year, he took the Trinity League title and qualified for CIF-SS Finals where he finished in fourth place with a height of 14 feet. He also helped lead the Friars to their third consecutive Trinity League team championship. 

“Nolan has come into his own this season,” says Servite track coach, Richard Gibbs. “He has grown and matured into a dedicated, competitive athlete. His work ethic and desire to get better will lead to great things for next season and in the future. He represents what we try to accomplish at Servite with our student athletes.” 

Away from the track, Blachowski is a participant in the school’s Sanberg Leadership Program. He was also elected to Servite’s Generalate for the next school year, which is comprised of the top four senior leaders. He will serve as Vicar General, No. 2 in command. 

In an event as technical and demanding as pole vaulting, Blachowski has learned to lean on his faith as he experiences the highs and lows of the sport. 

“It’s really unique, and there’s so many things that go into it,” says Blachowski. “There are also a lot of setbacks, and sometimes you feel defeated. So you’ve got to take a step back and rely on God. I know that with God, I can accomplish it. Just focusing on God and re-centering [myself], that really helps.” 

Blachowski would like to continue pole vaulting at the collegiate level and is interested in studying business. As the third oldest of six children, he credits his mother with being a strong influence and role model in his life. 

“I know that if she can balance six children, working as hard as 
she does,” says Blachowski, “then I can work as hard as I can and still succeed.”

  • Athletics
  • Track and Field