Beckett vaults to York

A big part of Emma Beckett’s love of pole vaulting derives from the fact there’s always something new to learn about the event’s nuanced technique.

Emma Beckett clears the bar during a recent competition at Rotary Stadium. The Valley Royals pole vaulter is ticketed for York University this fall.

Emma Beckett clears the bar during a recent competition at Rotary Stadium. The Valley Royals pole vaulter is ticketed for York University this fall.

A big part of Emma Beckett’s love of pole vaulting derives from the fact there’s always something new to learn about the event’s nuanced technique.

Given her enthusiasm for self-improvement, Beckett could hardly have found a better post-secondary fit than York University.

When she arrives on the Toronto campus this fall, Beckett will have the opportunity to work with York Lions track and field assistant coach Arye Rosenoer, a pole vault specialist who trains some of Canada’s elite in the event.

“It’ll be really great to work with someone like him,” enthused Beckett, a 17-year-old who recently graduated from the Abbotsford School of Integrated Arts. “He works with a lot of world class athletes, not just at the university.”

As much as she’s fired up about joining the track team and competing at the Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS) level, Beckett chose York as much for academic reasons as athletic. The aspiring screenwriter has been accepted into York’s exclusive theatre program.

“I auditioned with screenwriting,” said Beckett, who earned an academic scholarship to York. “My first year, I’ll be doing everything – stagecraft, acting, costume design, learning about the history of theatre. It’s kind of an opportunity to figure out what you like with theatre, and what you want to focus on.”

Beckett, who trains with Abbotsford’s Valley Royals track and field club, figures to make an immediate impact on behalf of the Lions track team. Her person best jump of 3.25 metres would have been good enough to place her among the top eight at last season’s Ontario University Athletics championships.

Beckett is a two-time gold medallist at both the Fraser Valley high school championships and the B.C. Athletics championships, and she was Canada’s sixth-ranked youth pole vaulter last year.

“You’re always learning new stuff about it,” Beckett said of her chosen sport. “There’s a lot of really detailed technique to it. You have to get all the way upside down in the air to really get the best jump, and I haven’t really gotten there yet. But I think in the next year, I’ll be able to nail down some technique that will help me get a lot better.”

If she could write the script for her own pole vaulting career, Beckett thinks the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro would make a terrific climactic scene.

“Going to university, I just want to expand my horizons as much as possible,” she said. “If I had a dream goal, it would be the 2016 Olympics. Right now, I just want to see how far I can take it and see what my options are, more than anything.”