Windermere High School senior track runner and pole vaulter Luke Ellenback is the only member of the current team who medaled at the States Championship meet last year. He currently is ranked No. 6 in the state for pole vault and is looking to returning to states and potentially make podium once more time before his graduation. Ellenback recently won the Metro West championship for pole vault.
Tell us about your years as a pole vaulter.
My older brother, (Noah Ellenback), ran track, and it’s always been in my family. I used to watch him run in track meets, and I would always watch pole vault. My mom used to see me watch it and said (she thought I would like it if I tried it out). I did, and I just kept on doing it.
Why pole vaulting?
It’s a rush of adrenaline, and I’m just a thrill-seeker, I guess. It’s fun to me, and I just want to jump high.
What do you love most about pole vaulting as a sport?
The satisfaction of clearing a personal best bar — that’s what makes it worth it in the end. When you get the satisfaction of getting a good height, you feel good about yourself.
Do you have a favorite drill to do at practice?
For practice, you kind of just vault, but there are running drills you can do with the pole or without the pole just to help you get faster. If I’m not jumping, the days I’m not jumping, I’ll be running — specifically to get better for pole vault.
What makes you a unique athlete on the vault?
I feel like for me, there is a lot of room for improvement. My form, technically, some people would say it’s not the greatest, but I rely more on my run than anything, just because the fastest you can run in there with no fear, it’s really just mental. I try and go out there with a good attitude and be fearless. That helps me jump higher.
What is your favorite part about your team?
I like my teammates a lot, and I have good coaches. We train at a really nice location (Deputy Scott Pine Community Park).
How do you instill leadership in your team?
I try (to) make sure that everyone has good sportsmanship. And just being a part of the team for four years now, I feel like it’s part of my job to help everyone better themselves at practice every day.
Do you have a favorite pro pole vaulting athlete you like to watch? Why?
His name is Mondo Duplantis; he’s so good at what he does. He’s just a great athlete. He runs extremely fast, and he just does things that nobody can do yet. He’s 22 years old, and he already has a world record.
What do you think when you are all the way up in the air?
I just focus on what trying to get over the bat cleanly. Definitely don’t want to touch the bar, because if you touch it, it’s definitely coming down. … When you land on the mat, you just get a sense of euphoria.
Where would you like to go to college?
I’m in between two colleges right now — seeing the track possibilities there. I like the University of South Florida.
Do you know what you would like to study?
What is your favorite hobby?
I like watching movies, and I like hanging with my friends or listening to music, as well.
What’s your favorite movie?
“Rocky III.” I’m a big fan of the Rocky movies.
What’s your favorite type of music?
I like rap. I listen to a lot of Drake.
Who is your favorite superhero? Why?
Spider-man, because ever since I (was) young, I just like the fact that he lives two lives. He’s a superhero, but he’s also a human. He goes through pain and struggle just like everybody else, and that’s just so inspiring to me.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be and why?
Super speed, because there is a lot you can do with that — especially with track.
What are three places you’d like to visit? Why?
Hawaii, Germany and Greece. Being from the United States, I feel like it’s a relatively young country, and I just want to see (the) history of those countries and (also) some of the monuments. And Greece hosted the first Olympics.
What color would you say represents your personality?
I’d say green, because I like nature, and I feel like I’m outside a lot. I’m not really an inside person as much as I like the outdoors.
If you could be an animal for a day, which one would you be and why?
A dog, just because I feel like it would be pretty easy and chill. I’d get taken care of.