Starting his freshman year, one of Marc DeLuca’s track and field coaches, Coach Perry knew he had potential in pole vaulting. DeLuca started running track when Coach Page pushed him to join spring track after playing freshman football. DeLuca recounted how Coach Perry pulled him aside at practice and asked DeLuca if he wanted to pole vault for the Westhill track team. “He was normally able to jump 11’ or 11’5” his freshman year,” said Perry, when asked how DeLuca started out. According to Coach Perry, like many freshman when he started, Deluca was slow and uncoordinated. By the time he was a sophomore, DeLuca was one of the highest flying vaulter in Connecticut. This year Mark DeLuca took 4th place at the New Balance Nationals for Connecticut, jumping 14’3.5’’. In order to qualify for Nationals, DeLuca had to jump 14’3”, but at previous meets DeLuca was only ever able to achieve 13’6”.
Every week DeLuca tries to go to the Hudson Valley Flying Circus Pole Vault Club to practice. The club attracts vaulters from all over Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and even Pennsylvania. When asked DeLuca said, “Practice really makes perfect, but you can’t practice until you can do it [vaulting] correctly.” When Deluca is not working on homework or practicing, he is down in the Fitness Center lifting weights. In order to build stamina, Perry and the other coaches have DeLuca compete in other track and field events to build stamina, even though his main focus is vaulting.
Deluca also played football, but gave it up for pole vaulting. “Pole vaulting became something that I love and I want to do it through college,” DeLuca said when asked about why he stuck with pole vaulting instead of football. He also recalled how he initially started because it looked like fun, but then later fell in love with it. Chris Rough (’15) was one of DeLuca’s biggest influences. Rough and DeLuca were friends in middle school and became even closer when they bonded over pole vaulting. Rough won states last year, an achievement that is one of DeLuca’s aspirations as well as being able to vault 15’5”. As far as this year goes, DeLuca is soaring to new heights.