LORETTO, CAMBRIA COUNTY - Altoona Area High graduate Ryan Steinbugl has made quite an impression so far during his freshman year at Saint Francis. His pole vault of 15'5" last week at the Northeast Conference Championship was good enough to earn him the title.
"I was sort of nervous because there were two other competitors in there and Evan Falbo actually helped me calm down," says Steinbugl. "He helped me like get focused and I just went out there and did my thing."
The mark not only won Steinbugl a title, making him the school's first-ever men's pole vaulting champion, but it also broke the school indoor record.
"We've known all along he's a great talent," says Saint Francis Track Coach Doug Hoover. "He's hard working, he comes from a great background."
That background includes a third-place finish at state as a senior. Steinbugl says the training he got there has been invaluable to him now in college. He gives all the credit to his high school coach, Rob Wall.
"If he wouldn't have been there, I don't think I would've had the success I have now," says Steinbugl. "Because he really taught me a lot about pole vault and I just carry it on through until now.
And with those fundamentals, Steinbugl only continues to improve.
We kind of figured it was only a matter of time till he would put the pieces together," says Hoover. "And it came together at the right time. And there's certainly more in there."
The Saint Francis indoor track team will have a tune-up meet coming up this weekend at Kent State and then they're headed to the Eastern College Athletic Conference Championships beginning March 1st.