Athlete of the Month: Elena Mente


Credit: Sasha Libenzon

Sophomore Elena Mente prepares before pole vaulting for the Wayland high school track team. “My favorite thing to do is pole vault,” Mente said. “I love getting to meet all new people from it.”

Bella Schreiber

Sophomore Elena Mente soars through the air, leaping eight feet to land in 11th place at the Twilight meet. Mente was one of two people from Wayland who successfully qualified for Twilights and the only person able to go.

Mente is the only person in Wayland who participates in the pole vault event and has only just started her training around the beginning of quarantine, or the summer before her freshman year. Mente qualified for both Twilights and Divisionals this year and hopes to make it to All States, which occurs in the round after Divisionals.

“I have only gotten to pole vault a few times with Wayland, but I’m going to start to more and more, which is really exciting,” Mente said.

Mente has previously vaulted in Natick and Westborough, only recently starting in Wayland. Mente joined the Patriot Pole Vault Club of New England to help her grow as an athlete and advance her vaulting.

“Patriot Pole Vault Club of New England is where most people go for pole vaulting, so you meet a lot of new people,” Mente said. “It can be really cool because there are also college students who can talk about what it’s like to pole vault in college and [they are] a good resource for us.”

Meeting other pole vaulters can be really helpful for Mente due to the fact that she is the only one in Wayland. This helped her situation at the Twilight meet, when the other Wayland player had to drop out because they contracted COVID-19.  Going into the meet knowing people from other towns through her club improved her experience.

“I love meeting all new people from each school and gaining more friends,” Mente said.

As with any sport, by learning and actively participating in her event, Mente has been able to gain great friendships along the way. For many, having something to look forward to in the trying time of COVID-19 was crucial to continuing on with life. Thankfully for Mente, she found her light at the end of the tunnel.

“My favorite thing to do is pole vaulting,” Mente said. “I love [it].”

A common trend among many pole vaulters is that they all used to, or still do, participate in some form of gymnastics. Mente was a gymnast for about eight years, also doing cheerleading, diving and cross country; however, her all time favorite was pole vaulting.

“Gymnastics absolutely helped me build the strength I need to succeed in pole vaulting,” Mente said. “I think it’s definitely very helpful because they’re both very physically demanding.”

For the past few weeks in Wayland and past few years in neighboring areas, Mente has been pushing herself to gain the strength to succeed. She has worked hard to get where she is today, as well as working to achieve her future goal, which is to continue vaulting at the collegiate level.

“I wanna go to college for pole vaulting, or at least have it help me get into a good college,” Mente said. “My ultimate goal is to clear 10 feet high. We’re still working on it, but I hope to get there by the time I am a senior.”

Although Mente thoroughly enjoys pole vaulting, she never would have started without a push from her great grandfather. He pole vaulted in New Jersey and held a state record, which encouraged her to give it a shot.

“The biggest reason I started vaulting was my great grandfather,” Mente said. “He said to me, ‘Elena you need to pole vault,’ so that’s what I did. I’m so glad I listened because it is so much fun.”

Mente proves that if you set your mind to do something, you can do it. She might not have reached her ultimate goal yet, but she continues to work very hard each week by going to a pole vaulting club, as well as vaulting with Wayland. She may have only started recently, but with her determination and gymnastics background, she has all the qualities necessary to turn out successful in the vaulting world.

“I think it’s interesting that I kind of only started pole vaulting because I wanted to have something to do after quitting gymnastics,” Mente said. “It’s cool that pole vaulting became the thing that I was looking for to make each day a little better.”