Pole vaulting may not be the first event that comes to mind when you think of track and field, but for one Louisa County High School junior, it’s the only one that matters.
Celia Agee has been vaulting since eighth grade, when she was recruited to the team by LCHS pole vaulting coach Tom Black, who competed in pole vault in both high school and college.
“I was a little nervous because I was a middle-schooler with a bunch of high-schoolers,” she said. “My teammates made it fun and comfortable and exciting.”
Though she wouldn’t leave much of an impact in the outdoor track season that year, Agee didn’t waste any time once she reached high school and was able to compete at the varsity level. In her freshman season of indoor track, Agee tallied a second place finish at the Virginia High School League Region 4A East tournament and qualified for the VHSL Group 4A State Championship.
“That first time was really special,” Agee said. “Being able to be an all-state athlete was really special.”
Agee finished fourth in the state tournament that year, but she managed to set a LCHS record in pole vault, a record she’s since broken. She continued to compete in outdoor track that spring and again finished second in the region and fourth at states.
She continued that success going into her sophomore year, winning the Conference 19 championship in indoor track and the regional tournament in both indoor and outdoor track that year. She qualified for the VHSL state championship both seasons, finishing fourth in indoor track and third in outdoor track.
Now in her third year of pole vaulting, Agee has added even more accolades to her resume. In addition to winning both the Jefferson District and Region 4B championship meets, on Dec. 6, she qualified for the New Balance National Indoor Championship which will be held March 9-11 in New York City.
A month later, during a meet at Fork Union Military Academy on Jan. 6, Agee cleared a height of 12 feet for a personal best and a new LCHS record.
“It’s been pretty rewarding because of all of the work that goes into it,” she said. “I just gotta keep working to get higher.”
In addition to all of the practice that Agee gets during the indoor and outdoor track seasons, she also works out in the off season, traveling to Xtreme Heights Pole Vault gym in Richmond three times a week.
“She’s an excellent student of the event,” head track coach Jerry Cutright said. “She’s at the level where she could compete collegiately. I see great things happening for her.”