Name: Matt Fay
School: Iona Prep
Sport: Track and field
Athletic accomplishment: On Dec. 29 at the Marine Corps Holiday Classic, Fay set the school record on the pole vault at 15 feet, 9 inches. At the Hispanic Games, a meet featuring 300 schools, he placed third in the pole vault at 15-6, helping Iona Prep finish second in the event. Iona Prep’s pole-vaulting teamis ranked first in the state.
Academic accomplishment: Fay carries an average of 91.45 percent and scored a 1920 on the SATs. He is committed to Bucknell for next year.
Getting to know
The Journal News: Your personal best at the start of the season was 14 feet in early December. How were you able to improve so quickly?
Matt Fay: During the summer, I knew what I needed to work on. My coach took me down to Oklahoma to train with Joe Dial. His son, Tommy, can jump 17-3, and he’s also a senior in high school. I trained with him for three days, and that helped a lot. I needed a lot of speed on the runway, and that helped a lot.
TJN: How did you get into pole vaulting?
MF: I actually wrestled freshman year. About halfway through spring season, my teammate Ryan Herrara-Murphy, I had classes with him and I met him in the librarly one day and he said I should try the pole vault. I just went down, met coach Jerry Cahill and tried out.
TJN: You used to wrestle, and you also placed fourth in the Westchester Diving Championships last summer. Does having experience in those sports help you in pole vaulting?
MF: Wrestling gave me an aggressive edge and diving helps with the gymnastics element of pole vaulting. Pole vaulting, as hard as it is physically, a pretty big part of it is mental. I got some of that mental toughness before I got into the sport, so I think that helped a lot.
TJN: You do a lot of extra-curricular activities. Is there any in particular that you are most proud of?
MF: My mom is a teacher at Davis Elementary School and she helped me and my friend set up a peer mentor sports program there. It’s for kids with special needs. We go there once a week, and it’s a lot of fun. We teach them basic skills of sports and it give them experiences that they’ve never really had.
The Con Edison Athlete of the Week recognizes students in Westchester and Putnam schools who excel athletically. Academic achievements, leadership, citizenship, and school and community activities are also factors. The winner is selected each week by a panel of athletic directors and coaches who review ballots submitted by each athlete’s athletic director or coach.