Skyjumpers Connecticut Mid-Winter Classes

     UNFORTUNATELY, BECAUSE THAMES VALLEY GYMNASTICS WILL BE HOSTING A GYMNASTICS COMPETITION ON FRIDAY, SATURDAY, AND SUNDAY, MARCH 26-28, WE CANNOT HOLD EITHER OUR MAKE-UP SESSION ON FRIDAY THE 26TH OR OUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED CLASSES ON SUNDAY THE 28TH. CONSEQUENTLY, WE WILL HOLD A MAKE-UP SESSION THE FOLLOWING FRIDAY APRIL 2 AT 5 PM AND RESCEDULE THE LAST MID-WINTER REGULAR CLASSES FOR SATURDAY APRIL 3 (THOSE CLASSES WILL MEET AT THE REGULAR TIMES: 10 AM; 11:30 AM; AND 1:00 PM. WE APOLOGIZE FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE.

     Registration for Spring Classes is now available on the Class Registration Page.

     Although there may be things that we’ll need to adjust as we move forward in these uncertain times, the following is a listing of some of the safety precautions that we will need to observe in order to make our return to instruction possible.

• All participants will be required to sign a new Covid-19 liability waiver form, releasing both Thames valley Gymnastics and Skyjumpers Connecticut.

• Class size will be limited to 11 participants in each group.

• There will be 15-minute-intervals separating all classes; so we'll dismiss each class after 1 hour and 15 minutes. Before entering the building, all participants must wait until the athletes from the previous class have exited. Someone will signal to those waiting in the parking lot that the new group has permission to enter.

• We will check the temperature of all participants before they are permitted to enter the building. Anyone with a temperature exceeding 100.4 will not be allowed to enter.

• No observers will be allowed in the building, only athlete-participants.

• All participants must clean their hands with hand sanitizer upon entry. There is now a dispenser located next to the entry door.

• Masks are required for all when entering, and participants must wear their masks during the lessons. All participants must bring their own brown paper bag to store their masks when not being worn. Be certain to write your name on the bag for identification.

• We have installed a non-porous weather cover on the pit in order to make it possible for us to sanitize it after each class session. Consequently, participants will NOT be allowed to wear spikes during classes, only flats.

• The drinking fountains are “out-of-order” so we suggest that each participant bring a personal water bottle. All gym bags and water bottles must be kept 6 feet apart from one another. Please clearly mark all gym bags and water bottles with your name for identification.

• All participants must remain a minimum of 6 feet apart from one another at all times. Tape indicators have been affixed to the floor to provide guidance for maintaining 6 feet of separation.

• All participants must wipe (with disinfecting wipes) every pole used before returning it to the common pole area.

• We will need to have volunteers from each group to clean the bathroom and to go over the pit with light-mop-sanitizer after each session before the next class will be allowed to enter. Those precautions should only take about 2-3 minutes.

• The ropes are off-limits. No one is permitted to use the ropes. 

• We would appreciate any donations of any anti-viral/disinfectant spray and wipes to help keep our area as safe as possible.

Skyjumpers Connecticut is a pole vault club based in North Franklin,  Connecticut. The principal reason for having a pole vault club is to provide opportunities for athletes above and beyond what is available to them at their schools.

At present Skyjumpers Connecticut is comprised mostly of high school pole vaulters but we also have some younger and some older vaulters. One of the best things about the club is the atmosphere. Because we have athletes from so many different schools, the club provides opportunities to create friendships that transcend the usual school and team boundaries. Those friendships help to create a positive, cooperative experience for everybody.

We have athletes involved from all over Connecticut. Although we are based in Southeastern Connecticut (North Franklin), we have vaulters from places such as Glastonbury, East Hampton, South Windsor, Monroe, and even Darien and Westport who travel to participate. We have a broad range of ability levels. Some of our vaulters are beginners. Most are probably intermediate. We have had some outstanding club members such as:

* Jessica Sullivan, 2005, 2006, 2007 Connecticut Class LL Champion and 2007 Connecticut State Open (Indoor and Outdoor) Champion (11'6" high school PR). Jess competed 4 years at the University of Notre Dame (12'0" collegiate PR).

* Jordan Thull, 2005, 2006 State Class L (Indoor and Outdoor) Champion, Open (Indoor and Outdoor) Champion, New England Champion. Holds CT State Indoor Record (15'8") and Outdoor Record 16'1".  Jordan competed 4 years at Northeastern University (17-0 collegiate PR).

* Patrick Waszczak, 2007 Connecticut Class M Champion (14'6" high school PR). Competed 4 years at Southern CT State University (15'9" collegiate PR).

* Lauren Bennett,  2007, 2008 State Class L (Indoor and Outdoor Champion) (11' high school PR).  Competed at Northeastern University 2009- 2013 (11'10" Collegiate PR).

* Kim Johnson, CT State Class LL & Open Champion both Indoors and Outdoors 2008 & 2009. Set CT Outdoor Record 12’0" (high school PR).  Competed for 3 years at Southern CT State University. Division II All American Indoors 2011. New England Outdoor Collegiate Champion 2012 (12’6.25" Collegiate PR).  She currently Assistantt Coach at Connecticut College.

* Jess Banning, CT State LL Outdoor Champion 2010 (11' high school PR). Competed at UCONN 2010-2011 (11'6" collegiate PR).

* Kaylan Pickford, 2010 CT Class LL State Champion. Set CT State Indoor Record 12’0.25" (high school PR).  Currently competing at the University of Rhode Island. New England Collegiate Indoor Champion 2012 - setting URI school record of 12’6.25". Broke that record again March 8, 2014, with a jump of 12'07.5" (3.85 meters)(collegiate PR), placing 3rd at the East Coast Athletic Conference Championships.

* Lauren O’Connell, Runner-Up 2012 CT Class LL and Open Indoor Championships. Runner-Up New 2012 England Outdoor High School Championships. (12’3" high school PR).  Competed at UCONN (12’3.5" collegiate PR).

* Allie Sullivan, 2011 CT State Class LL Outdoor Champion, 2011 CT State Open Indoor Champion, 2012 CT State Open Outdoor Champion (12.0.5" high school PR).  Currently competing at the University of Notre Dame (11’9" collegiate PR).

Our coach, Russ VerSteeg, has coached at both Norwich Free Academy and East Lyme High School. He has been on the staff of Jan Johnson's Sky Jumpers camps (Pennsylvania, Illinois, and California) since 2002. In his “day job" he teaches at New England School of Law in Boston, MA (yea, he's a lawyer!) where he teaches Sports Law, Copyright, Trademark, Legal History, and Contracts. He has published five articles relating to the legal and safety aspects of pole vaulting (the most recent co-authored with Jim Bemiller [Jim was Tim Mack's coach…for those of you who don't know], and he's done safety presentations at the Reno Pole Vault Summit (2005 and 2006). Russ is the legal adviser for the Pole Vault Safety Certification Board (www.pvscb.com). He's also certified in First Aid, CPR, has his Connecticut Coach's Certification, and USATF Level One Coaching Certification. Russ has served on the staff of the National USATF Women's Pole Vault Development Committee as legal adviser. He and Jan Johnson wrote the book, “Illustrated History of the Pole Vault," published in January 2008.