Krugman keeps rising

On certain days during this month, Allie Krugman has spent her time at Pepperdine University. It's a break from the norm, something she can use as she intensely works on the pole vault.

At Pepperdine, she can escape, studying film with others as part of the digital filmmaking camp. She now knows how to shoot a short film.

A live camera might be needed for Krugman today. It could provide entertainment, maybe even a happy ending.

Krugman, an incoming senior at Newport Harbor High, will compete in the National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in Sacramento.

While much of the action that occurs today could be ideal for a film, Krugman's story begins much earlier.

With regard to the pole vault, Krugman faced a disadvantage when she first started practicing the pole vault as a freshman.

In junior high, she mainly competed in high jump and long jump. You would think that would help. But actually, the elite vaulters usually have a background in gymnastics. Krugman dabbled as a kid, but just for fun.

"It put me at a disadvantage with the other girls," Krugman said. "I have to work a little harder, but it's OK."

Krugman has been just fine with putting in the work. There have been some highs and lows. Yes, the end of her spring season could be described as dark.

While competing in the CIF Southern Section Division II preliminaries, Krugman had her worst day. She scratched. She didn't clear the initial height.

"Not a proud moment," she says. "Everyone has those days."

But Krugman refused to let that moment define her. She went back to work again, back under the instruction of Kevin Magula and the Higher Flyers club.

Last month, another huge challenge came her way. She had to compete amid 100-plus degree temperatures in Las Vegas.

She didn't clear a personal-best height, but she cleared 10 feet, 6 inches and won her age-group division title at the Junior Olympics regional.

Today at Hughes Stadium (Sacramento City College), she is representing the area of Southern California, Nevada and Hawaii.

Now her goal is to take it to the next level, as she vies to finish in the top three to advance to the World Youth Olympic Games in Singapore, Aug. 14 through 26.

"She's come along quite well," Magula said. "She has been making some good progress. I'm hoping it all clicks when we get to the finals here.

"She's just been working super hard to get where she's at now. A lot of the kids are natural talents. Some of them don't have to work as hard to get the recognition, but she has had to work a little harder because she didn't have that gymnastics background."

Competing in Las Vegas helped Krugman, Magula said. The heat provided a challenge. Krugman did her best to avoid dehydration.

She also blocked the conditions away from her mind.

"I've competed in places that were hot, but never over 100 degrees," she said. "That was pretty tough. At first I just wanted to get through it because the heat was so bad. It was difficult. I just wanted to do my best."

Krugman's best came at the Arcadia Invitational, where she cleared 11-1 to finish sixth. Obviously she's wanting to surpass that today. She knows that will keep her on a successful path.

Success is a familiarity with the Higher Flyers club. Several of the members go on to compete at NCAA Division I programs.

"I've had the club for 15 years," Magula says. "To be honest, it's more than I know [the number of vaulters who go on to Division I teams]."

If Krugman's life played out like a movie, it certainly wouldn't end with today or even her upcoming senior year. She's also planning to continue to compete in college.

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