Selinsgrove senior Annalise Bond tried to not let the conditions affect her last week during the Class 3A state track and field meet.
With cool temperatures and intermittent rain, the pole vault competition was moved inside. Bond still cleared 12 feet, 6 inches to earn a state silver medal.
“I was happy with the silver medal, but I wanted 13 feet so badly,” Bond said. “A lot of variables changed all of the sudden. We went inside, which is a completely different ballgame.”
For Bond it was the culmination of a lot of hard work — including driving multiple times per week to VaultWorX in Mechanicsburg — before she heads off to college at Delaware State, where she will continue to vault, along with playing soccer.
“She’s overall an unbelievable athlete,” Selinsgrove girls track and field coach Mike Stebila said. “The other thing that stands out is her dedication. Outside of the work we were doing, she continued to drive an hour-plus to continue to improve what she was doing.”
Bond’s performance in the pole vault, her academic performance (97% GPA) and her commitment to community service are why she was selected as The Daily Item’s Scholar-Athlete of the Week, sponsored by SUN Orthopaedics of Evangelical, as well as PPL Electric Utilities.
The award honors local student-athletes who thrive in the classroom, in the community and on Valley playing fields.
Outside of the success, Bond said she was just happy to get to have a senior season after her junior season was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. If there was any silver lining to Bond not having a junior track and field season, it’s that her older sister, Katie, still holds the school record for pole vault as a junior.
“It’s nice that both our names are up there,” Bond said. “There’s still a bond up there.”
Bond did admit that she was happy to break her sister’s overall school record.
“I didn’t actually tell her; my parents did,” Bond said. “She was really happy for me. We’re very close, so I wouldn’t brag about it to her ... but I will tease her.”
Stebila, in his first year in charge of the Seals, got an early glimpse at the type of athlete Bond is. Near the beginning of the season, he set up stations so he could get a look at what events his athletes were good at, which was especially important with two classes of athletes who had not competed in high school track and field.
“Every time I turned my head, it was, ‘Oh my gosh, we found a hurdler. No, that’s Annalise,’” Stebila said. “’We found a high jumper. No, that’s Annalise.’ If it wasn’t for the pole vault, I have no doubt in college she’d be doing a multi.
“She’s such an athlete, you could put her in anything and get points.”
The coach said Bond’s pole vault experience and skill benefited the younger athletes on the team.
“We had some freshmen coming in, trying to decided whether pole vault was for them,” Stebila said. “Annalise was another coach. She could mentor them a little differently than Seth Martin could. Seth is a great coach, but Annalise had a different touch. We were very fortunate to have her.”
Bond was quick to credit everyone around her with helping her achieve success in the pole vault.
“It’s because of my coaches, the other athletes and my family,” Bond said. “Without the push from my competition, I wouldn’t have the drive to get up to that level. My coaches, I depend on them to make the right calls for my standards, starting height. I’m still in high school; I don’t know everything.
“And my family has been such a big help. Without them, I wouldn’t have the opportunity to go to VaultWorX.”
When Bond wasn’t in season — either for track and field or soccer — she went to VaultWorX three times a week. She went twice per week during track season, and once per week in the fall.
“If I’m not going to give my full effort, why even do it?” Bond said. “If you don’t give maximum effort, you won’t get the results you want.”
Bond is planning to study secondary education at Delaware State.
“The teachers at Selinsgrove give a lot of life lessons, and really helped prepare me for my next step,” Bond said, adding that inspired her in part to study education.
She added that her teachers were a big part of her success in school.
“It’s a lot of studying and time management,” Bond said. “It’s also talking to teachers and accepting their help. Teachers are there for a reason, so why not use them to make yourself smarter?”
Bond was in the top 10% of her class of 193 at Selinsgrove’s graduation last week.
“She’s a great, outgoing kid,” Stebila said. “I had the opportunity to have her in class, and she’s an outstanding student.
“She’s just an absolutely fun person to be around.”
As much as Bond excels in class and in athletics, one of the things she’s most proud of during her time in high school came through her church, St. Pius X.
“One thing I did at church will stick with me forever,” Bond said.
Bond — along with the other members of a small group at church — raised money for a family with young children after the father died.
“I was in change of all the public speaking,” Bond said. “I had to get up in front of people and speak. I was nervous, but I knew I needed to help the family.”
Bond said the group raised more than $10,000 for the family, including getting Christmas presents for the children.
“Their faces were amazing; they were so happy,” Bond said. “The mother was crying tears of happiness.”
Bond has been an altar server at her church since third grade, and has been a part of several volunteer efforts through the Key Club at Selinsgrove, including running blood drives and organizing making care packages for homeless people and children in the hospital.
“You want the world to be a better place, and it’s not going to happen on its own,” Bond said. “One kind act can change a person’s life. It’s like a domino effect, and it’s got to start somewhere. It starts with being kind to one another.”
Before heading off to college, Bond will compete one more time as a high school athlete. After placing fourth in the pole vault at indoor nationals, she will head to Eugene, Oregon, later this month for outdoor nationals.
“It’s really cool because outdoor nationals are going to be held at the same place as college nationals,” Bond said. “It’s foresight into what could happen in college.”