Sports Person of the Week
DeAngelo Soars to Stellar Season in the Pole Vault
Old Saybrook senior Cody DeAngelo took first place in the pole vault at both the Shoreline Conference Championship and the Class S State Championship this winter. (Photo courtesy of Cody DeAngelo )
Cody DeAngelo lined up for his eighth attempt of the day in the pole vault at the Class S State Championship. Nerves coursed through the senior’s veins as he prepared to try to clear the bar at 13 feet-6 inches. Cody sprinted toward the mat and leaped over the bar on his first try, securing himself the gold medal with a personal-record (PR) height on behalf of the Old Saybrook boys’ indoor track team.
“That was easily my favorite moment of the season. The fact that I was able to PR and win the title was amazing,” Cody says. “It was one of the best feelings that I’ve ever had. To know that I’ve worked so hard for all these seasons to build myself up from nothing to a state champion means a lot to me.”
Cody’s victory at states came on the heels of him winning the pole vault with a height of 13 feet at the Shoreline Conference Championship. Cody has been a mainstay in the Old Saybrook track program since his freshman year, initially getting into the sport as a way to stay in shape during the spring season.
“I didn’t want to play baseball, golf, or tennis, so I figured I’d give track a shot,” says Cody. “I also knew I had a lot of friends on the team, so that helped with my decision, and it’s a decision I’m really glad I made.”
Cody has invested plenty of time into improving his performance in the pole vault. This includes doing things like working out, running sprints, and increasing his endurance with longer-distance jogs.
“To improve my craft, I focus a lot on short sprints, but I also go on a lot of distance runs to improve my stamina,” Cody says. “Pole vaulting is a full-body workout, and it’s one of those things that, in order to improve, you have to do it regularly. So, I try to get into a rhythm of practicing vaulting two to three times a week.”
Cody’s extra effort has certainly been noticed by Old Saybrook track coach Pete Capezzone. The coach describes Cody as “a tremendously hard-working athlete who goes above and beyond to get better at his event.”
“Cody not only works hard at his team practice, but will spend extra time weekly getting added coaching, insight, and perspective from Russ VerSteeg, a coach in Norwich, once or twice a week,” says Capezzone. “Cody always set goals with myself and the other coaches at the beginning of each season and then does whatever it takes to accomplish them. He was a pleasure to work with for four years.”
Cody appreciates the influence that his track coaches have had on him throughout his time at Old Saybrook. Cody expresses gratitude to both Capezzone and fellow coach Jan Merrill for how they’ve shaped him as an athlete.
“Coach Jan is phenomenal at what she does. She is understanding and listens to her athletes. I really value her knowledge of the sport and all the advice she has given me,” Cody says. “Coach Cap is always pushing me further and setting goals for me that, at the time, I feel are out of reach. But somehow, I’ve always persevered and achieved those goals he has set for me. He’s always had confidence in me, and that’s made me a better athlete.”
Merrill says that Cody brings a lively presence to the Rams and motivates the teammates around him to work that much harder.
“Cody always came to work,” says Merrill. “His work ethic was tremendous, and I’m sure a lot of these kids are going to miss having him around next year.”
In addition to track, Cody also played for the Old Saybrook boys’ soccer team. Cody helped the Rams win consecutive Class S state championships in his junior and senior years.
“I play soccer in the fall, and it was amazing to be able to win back-to-back titles,” Cody says. “That’s something that pushed me to want to win a title in track, because I thought, ‘Why not keep the winning streak alive?’”
Cody is going to continue doing the pole vault after he graduates from Old Saybrook. Cody has committed to Stonehill College in Massachusetts and will be pole vaulting for the Skyhawks at the next level.
“I hope that the future holds great success for me at Stonehill, and I hope younger athletes can look up to me as an inspiration to try new things and to work really hard toward their goals,” says Cody. “One day, all of that hard work will pay off.”