David Bly brings the pole vault team to new heights


Ethan Hart

Coach David Bly instructs junior Carter Holsinger during a practice.

by Ethan Hart and Carter Holsinger

After 28 years of experience with pole vault, Linganore pole vault coach David Bly is just getting started.

Bly, who has coached the pole vault team since 2017, has been a catalyst for a program that previously had not had much success. Since his takeover, Bly and his jumpers have become the backbone of the track and field team. In just three short years, Bly has recruited numerous athletes to try the event and has produced two state champions in juniors Myah Davies and Carter Holsinger.

In addition to Holsinger and Davies, Bly has also qualified other athletes to the MPSSAA state championships, where elite marks are required. 2018 graduate Sam LaPilusa placed seventh in the 2018 indoor state meet, and junior Sarah Moravansky placed third in the 2018 outdoor state meet.

Bly comes from a family of pole vaulters. He learned from his uncle and older brother when he was six years old and has been leaping skyward ever since. He graduated from South Carroll High School and jumped 12’6’’ feet, which was good enough to place in the state meet and made him able to compete at Hagerstown Junior College.

Unfortunately, his collegiate career was cut short by a string of injuries his freshman year. After college, he continued to be involved with the sport by coaching at Torrey Pines High School in San Diego, California. Before coming to Linganore, he had also coached multiple club teams and had worked with Olympic vaulters.

In addition to coaching at Linganore, he competes in USA Track and Field (USATF) in the 35-40 age group. In 2018, he was the silver medalist in the USATF Indoor National competition with a jump of 3.40 meters, or 11’2” feet.

“From competing to coaching, I’ve always loved how technically challenging the sport is. So many elements have to come together to create a successful vault, and when you finally clear the bar, the rush is a high like no other.” Said Bly.

This current indoor track season, the boys pole vault team is lead by Holsinger, who holds the school record in pole vault with a jump of 15’1’’. Carter has qualified for the New Balance Indoor National Championship, which he hopes to attend in March. Holsinger is accompanied by senior Evan Connelly, a varsity vaulter who jumps 8’7”. Freshmen Quinn Ruch, who is also Bly’s nephew, also vaults a height of 8’7’’. Ruch is the second family member to have been coached by Bly, in addition to junior Graeson Ruch.

Although the two are related, learning to work with his uncle has been a learning experience for Quinn Ruch. “Having my uncle as my coach is hard sometimes because we butt heads and he’s my uncle, but when I listen to him, he’s a really good coach who gives great advice.”

“He does a very good job of coaching. At our track meets, the other coaches can’t relate to the sport because they can’t relate to the physical aspect of pole vaulting. He has a lot of experience, and is able to show us things that other coaches can’t,” said Ruch.

The girl’s pole vault team is currently lead by reigning indoor and outdoor state champion Myah Davies, whose personal record is a jump of 10’6’’ feet. She is followed by juniors Taylor Biss, who jumps 8’6’’ feet, and Sarah Moravansky, whose best mark is a vault of 9’0’’ feet.

“Coach Bly is a really great coach, and he always knows what he is doing. He is very supportive as a coach and really loves pole vault,” said Davies.

Bly loves coaching and plans to continue doing what he loves. “I act as an ambassador to pole vaulting and I help grow and teach the sport safely to a new generation of athletes that find the same passion for the sport that I have.”