‘Nash’ional Junior Record in Pole Vault for Nash Nalus
Article by Pirie Enzo
18.08.12, 3rd Revision
Natasha (Nash) Marie Nalus continued her dominating streak of performances at the Weekly
Relays. The 18-year-old incoming freshman at the University of the Philippines broke the
National Junior Record with a leap of 2.95m in Week 5 of the weekly relays at Pasig (18th Aug).
Nalus broke the old mark of 2.90m set by her team-mate and training partner Katrina Baron.
Both Baron and Nalus are currently trained by pole vault coach Michael Pelaez, along with
another previous junior record holder Alexandra Morrica Smith (DLSU).
Nalus is a graduate of St Paul’s College Pasig. Nash was originally a member of the Philippine
Pole Vault Club with coach Emerson Obiena.
At the start of the year, Nalus’s best was only 2.50m from the Uni Games last year in Bacolod and
then 2.60m during the weekly relays. Nalus leaped 2.80m during week three of the weekly relays
to move from sixth on the all-time junior list and was voted ‘Athlete of the Week’ with her
Not only does Nalus now go in as the favorite to win the UAAP title in November, one of many
new faces to emerge in a ‘changing of the guard’ (as defending champions now senior athletes are
now very busy with studies or have graduated).
Nalus also now has a chance to become the first junior to go beyond the 3.00m mark; born in
1994 Nalus has this year and next year to achieve that feat. The Pole Vault has come a long way
as 14 years ago the National Senior Record was still only 2.80m.
Mainly due to the efforts of coaches such as Vicente Villanueva, Emerson Obiena, and Michael
Pelaez the standard of pole vaulting but in particular the relatively new event of Women’s Pole
Vaulting has shot up dramatically. We will examine the history of the women’s junior record.
History of the Philippines National Junior Women’s Record
The History of the Junior record in the women’s just like the men’s has been a very controversial
subject. However, I will first note, unlike the boy’s record, in the women’s fil-heritage athlete
Deborah Samson (3.81m, 2000) did not have a Filipino Passport, hence eligibility at the
time of the record but later went on to set the senior record once she obtained a passport.
The Junior record starts with our first serious women’s pole vaulter Anna Natad who was
coached by Mr. Villauneva (a veteran pole vaulter himself from the age of bamboo poles, who
these days are the chief caretaker of the PATAFA equipment shed). Natad from DLSU University
in 1998 leaped 2.80m during the weekly relays which was the Junior and Senior record at that
The record was then equaled by Jam Valenton of Ateneo coached by Emerson Obiena, ten years
later in 2008 at the weekly relays also. Contrary to my previous article on pinoymiler
titled ‘Smith claims sole ownership of the junior record’ and also in the following article ‘A tale
of two pole vaulters’
The marks of Dawn Javellena (Ateneo, 2005) 2.70m, Riezel Buenaventura (FEU, 2005) 2.70m,
and Alex Smith (DLSU) 2.70m and 2.76m 2010 (After careful research assisted by AA
Statistician Heinrich Hubeling) are not considered ever being national records as Natad 2.80m
was not exceeded or equaled between 1998 and 2008. Valenton’s leap of 2.80m equaled that so
she co-shared the record from 2008 to 2010.
The saga then continues in this article I wrote on pinoymiler titled ‘A tale of two pole vaulters’
“The email was brought to the attention of PATAFA but was not acted on and in essence
ignored. Smith is aware of the higher marks of 2.80m reported in the past set on a campaign to
claim sole ownership of the National Junior Record.
The drama continued as Smith seemed to falter from her record-breaking mark during the
UAAP, weekly relays, and National Games. She eventually managed to break through at the
University Games in Capiz in mid-October with a leap of 2.87m which unofficially claimed full
ownership of the junior record.
However, PATAFA national coach Roselyn Hamero informed me that due to the fact the national
games was not an event sanctioned by PATAFA and arguably the officials are not accredited the
record is very unlikely to be ratified by PATAFA.
In the case of track events that is understandable as there are no wind gauges and hand timing.
However, field events are very hard to stuff up measurements in comparison to sprint events were
more time is available to ensure accuracy.
Smith’s new mark of 2.87 records regardless lasted less than a week. Her training partner Kat Baron(1992 also) of UP Diliman leaped an impressive 2.90m, a massive breakthrough performance on October 29 at the Weekly relays to claim what might be sole ownership of the Junior Record.
The Question now is can Smith dig deep and take the record back at the weekly relay finals this
weekend which is arguably the last meet and last chance of the year? Regardless 2011 has been a
win-win situation for the MPF (Mike Pelaez Family).”
It is going to be a very interesting UAAP this year with National Junior Record Holder Natasha Nalus (2.95m) lining up against former record holders UP schoolmate Katrina Baron (2.90m) and Alexandra Smith of DLSU (2.87m). The three training partners are part of the MPF training group (Mike Pelaez Family).
Below is the All-time List for Junior Womens Pole Vault in the Philippines
1 3.81m Deborah Samson 17/10/1981 Los Angeles 2000
2 2.95m Natasha Marie Nalus 1994 Pasig 18/8/2012
3 2.90m Katrina Baron 16/7/92 Manila 1/11/2011
4 2.87m Alexandra Smith 1992 Roxas City 2011
5 2.80m Anna Natad 6/4/1979 Manila 3/10/1998
6 2.80m Jam Valenton 19/6/1989 Manila 23/11/2008
7 2.70m Riezel Buenaventura 20/4/1986 Manila 17.5.05
8 2.70m Dawn Javellana 86 Manila 2005
9 2.70m Bettina Maclang 28/9/89 Manila 31/8/2008
10 2.60m Emily Jean Obiena 28/2/1998 Pasig /2/2012
*NB. Natasha Nalus’s mark is the JR Record on this list.
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Andrew was elected Vice President of the Association of Track and Field Statisticians in 2020 after being a member for 7 years.
He has worked as a PSC Consultant and Research Assistant from 2013-2015, Consultant, and Sprint Coach at Zamboanga Sports Academy from 2015-2017. And Currently is Consultant Coach with VMUF 2021-
Current editor and chief of Pinoyathletics.info, and has recently done consultancy work for Ayala Corp evaluating the Track and Field Program.
Coaches Sprints, Middle and Jump events he is Level 3 Athletics Australia Coaching Certification in Sprints and Hurdles.
Currently working towards a Masters Degree in Education.
He can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org
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