Raising the Bar: Natalie Ng


Courtesy of Natalie Ng

Ng’s dedication towards pole vaulting has lead her to practice out of school at Mission Viejo to supplement her normal track practice.

Simrat Singh and Dylan Thakarar

Article updated May 21, 2018: Natalie achieved her personal record of 10’0″ as the first varsity track member to compete in CIF. She also finished 7th overall in CIF-SS Division 4 Finals and 13th overall among all California freshman girl pole vaulters.

Freshman Natalie Ng is the first and only member of the track and field team that is competing in pole vaulting. At the Northwood Quad Meet she placed first in the competition, already off to a great start even as a freshman competing in a varsity event.

“I started pole vaulting at the beginning of the summer, right after I stopped gymnastics,” Ng said. “I had heard that pole vaulting was a common sport for former gymnasts to do, and I knew that some of the girls that used to go to my gym went into pole vaulting.”

Because Ng is the only pole vaulter, it has been necessary for her to find ways to continue to develop her skills outside of school. Natalie attends pole vaulting practice in Mission Viejo after the regular track practice at school.

“It’s pretty difficult being the only pole vaulter because there’s limited resources. At the moment, our school doesn’t exactly own poles, so I can’t really train at Portola much,” Ng said. “It also means that I have to do some meets alone, which is kind of scary since there’s nobody to talk to and compete with.”

Ng’s commitment to improving her skills has allowed her to shine in track and garnered attention of fellow track members.  Three days of the week, Ng spends two additional hours practicing for pole vaulting in addition to the usual one-and-a-half hours of track practice where she works with the sprinters.

“Natalie has certainly impressed me because she practices day in and day out and continues to amaze the entire track team as she rises up in the varsity level,” sophomore track member Ethan Niu said.

Competing at the higher varsity level makes it harder for Ng to place at competitions. Despite this Ng has found success with the aforementioned first place and overall success throughout pole vaulting even in her first year.

¨It’s always hard to stay motivated by yourself,¨ Track Head Coach Quiros said. ¨There’s only one pole vaulter which is tough because it’s a very technical sport and it’s nice to have another person there to struggle with you and to succeed with you. When you accomplish something, another teammate can recognize what you accomplished.¨