12/28/14 12:00pm
12/28/2014 12:00 PM
Charles Villa soars over the bar in the pole vault Friday. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Charles Villa soars over the bar in the pole vault. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

During the 2012-13 school year, Riverhead boasted three of the top pole vaulters in Suffolk County. This past year, after two of those pole vaulters graduated, that distinction was left to Charles Villa.  (more…)

06/06/14 10:15pm
06/06/2014 10:15 PM
Riverhead senior Charles Villa clears 14 feet 6 inches in the pole vault Friday at the state championships in Syracuse. (Credit: Hal Henty)

Riverhead senior Charles Villa clears 14 feet 6 inches in the pole vault Friday at the state championships in Syracuse. (Credit: Hal Henty)

NEW YORK STATE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Charles Villa first began pole vaulting in the spring three years ago as a freshman for Riverhead. Even in a sport that, by its nature, is difficult to begin as a youth, it was still a later start than for many of the top pole vaulters.

“Ever since then I loved it,” Villa said of his introduction to the sport. “I had so much fun.”

On Friday, Villa pole vaulted for the final time representing the Blue Waves. And with it, for now, came the end of an era. For the past several years, the Blue Waves have been flush with talented pole vaulters, from last year’s graduates Jonah Spaeth and Dan Normoyle, to Villa this year.  (more…)

06/05/14 2:00pm
06/05/2014 2:00 PM
A step-by-step view of how Riverhead senior Charles Villa has mastered the pole vault. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

A step-by-step view of how Riverhead senior Charles Villa has mastered the pole vault. Click on the photo to enlarge. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

When USA Today ran a series in 2005 on the 10 hardest things to do in sports, pole vaulting ranked third. In Riverhead, Charles Villa routinely makes it look easy.

The senior recently set the outdoor school record of 15 feet 1 inch. He finished first at last weekend’s state qualifier by clearing 14-3. On Friday, Villa will compete at the New York State Championships, where he’ll be aiming to set the record even higher. (more…)

05/31/14 12:45am
05/31/2014 12:45 AM
Riverhead pole vaulter Charles Villa clearing 14 feet en route to his triumph Friday at Port Jefferson High School. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Riverhead pole vaulter Charles Villa clearing 14 feet en route to his triumph Friday at Port Jefferson High School. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

SECTION XI INDIVIDUAL CHAMPIONSHIPS/STATE QUALIFIER

Strange as it may sound for the greatest pole vaulter in Riverhead High School history, but Charles Villa may have been suffering a crisis of confidence recently. His coaches noticed it.

One of those coaches, Jim Henderson, then provided the few words that Villa needed to hear. As Villa related, Henderson told him: “You got to stop being mental. You’re the best one here, so act like it, so jump like it.”

And, just like that, confidence was restored. (more…)

05/23/14 8:58pm
05/23/2014 8:58 PM
Riverhead sophomore Zikel Riddick jumped 20-11 1/4 in the long jump Friday at the Division II Championship. (Credit: Robert O'Rourk)

Riverhead sophomore Zikel Riddick jumped 20-11 1/4 in the long jump Friday at the Division II Championship. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk)

SECTION XI DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIPS

Charles Villa doesn’t measure his success by the heights he clears in the pole vault. Rather, the Riverhead senior judges himself by the pole he uses to vault.

“I set goals in poles,” he said. “Because I know the height will come. It’s there. I just got to get on the right pole with the right steps.”  (more…)

02/27/14 5:44pm
02/27/2014 5:44 PM

New York’s best high school track and field athletes will compete Saturday in the New York State Public High School Athletic Association Championships. Riverhead pole vaulter Charles Villa will not be among them.

Although Villa had qualified for what would have been his first indoor state meet, the senior has been withdrawn from the event because of an ankle injury, said Riverhead coach Sal Loverde. Villa sprained his left ankle during a warmup at the Long Island Elite Track Invitational last week and didn’t compete in that meet. (more…)

02/21/14 5:55pm
02/21/2014 5:55 PM
Riverhead junior Jacob Robinson clocked a personal-record time of 37.10 seconds to finish seventh in the 300-meter dash at the Long Island Elite Track Invitational. (Robert O'Rourk photo)

Riverhead junior Jacob Robinson clocked a personal-record time of 37.10 seconds to finish seventh in the 300-meter dash at the Long Island Elite Track Invitational. (Robert O’Rourk photo)

LONG ISLAND ELITE TRACK INVITATIONAL

Charles Villa, the standout Riverhead High School pole vaulter who thrills spectators by rising to greater and greater heights, made hearts sink on Friday. And it had nothing to do with his performance.

Villa, a senior preparing for his first state indoor track and field meet, saw his day come to an unexpectedly early end. While doing a so-called “short-step warmup” before the pole vaulting competition began in the Long Island Elite Track Invitational at St. Anthony’s High School, Villa’s left ankle landed awkwardly in an opening in the mat and he went down in pain. (more…)

02/12/14 11:09pm
02/12/2014 11:09 PM

Riverhead’s Charles Villa easily won the pole vault competition Wednesday night to earn a trip to the state championship. (Robert O’Rourk photo)

All it took was three vaults to send Charles Villa to the state championship.

Riverhead’s star pole vaulter — whose top height this season is nearly two feet higher than anyone else in Suffolk County — topped 14 feet on his third vault Wednesday night, clinching the Section XI title and a trip to the state championship. (more…)