GSC student excels at pole vaulting after years of military service

Hands once accustomed to holding a gun now hold a tool used for one of the most fundamentally difficult sports. The tall heavily tattooed red head sprints down the runway and flings his body using the pole to project himself. All of this happens in less than two seconds and in a graceful manner William Sarine clears the height. Applause fills the area surrounding the polevault area as athletes nearby appreciate Sarine’s talent but many more would be cheering if they knew of the service he did for our country.

William Sarine pole vaulting

Sarine works on perfecting his technique in the early stages of the season.

Before he did his service for the military he was busy creating a legend on the track. His legacy was fueled by love and the same work ethic that enabled him to excel later in the military. During his junior year Sarine was predicted to win the state championship. However, Sarine placed a disappointing third place. Not one to give up, Sarine came  back the next year not willing to be satisfied with simply being the best in the state in his division. During the state meet Sarine cleared a height nearly two feet higher than his nearest competition and this effort was good enough to set a new state record. His record stood until 2006 when Seth Beckner of Buffalo broke it in a record that stands to this day.

By this point though, Sarine was in full flow with his military career. Having signed with the armed services as a junior at the age of 17, Sarine was way past even enjoying the rigors of boot camp before his record had fallen. Boot camp in all of its rugged conditioning be enjoyable? Rising every morning at an hour that most consider the middle of the night and going to sleep every day almost as late after completing rigorous tasks for the entirety of the day be enjoyable? Blazing heat, rain and mud, and any unfathomable conditions imagined it can and will be ran in, crawled through, and rolled in. All of this is necessary to prepare a soldier’s mind and body for the unthinkable. The unthinkable I am speaking of is war. Sarine, himself, went through not one but two tours in Iraq during one of our nation’s most difficult and trying times. Sarine proved though if he wasn’t ready then he was at least capable. At the very least he was competent enough to do whatever he was asked or told to do.

Earlier when I suggested Sarine knew what he wanted to do I meant it loosely because while he was willing to do anything for our country, nobody is ever completely sure of what our country is going to ask of them. Originally the plan was for Sarine to be a truck driver. That plan didn’t last long because he was transferred to a different unit. As a member of this other unit the plan for him was to be a plumber. To this day Sarine stated “I have done neither of those jobs.” What he did instead was personal security, force protection, and congo support. Oh yeah and all of this was in Iraq in a war that saw over 4000 United States soldiers killed.

Since finishing his combat tours, Sarine has come back to the United States to pursue a degree in Business Management. Sarine ultimately chose Glenville State College because “it was the closest school to home that offered my major,” he explained. As he worked on perfecting his technique with polevault I asked him if track prepared him for boot camp in any way. Sarine answered in his own unmistakable honest way with a laugh at first but went on to say, “It helped with the conditioning side of things but football helped more with the overall experience.” Given the chance to defend his sport, a sport not seen with much respect despite the numerous hours   spent on technique, in the weight room building the necessary strength, and on the track developing speed for the runway, Sarine quickly dismissed the idea of how much his sport actually helped him in the military world and instead, in his own manner, related the boot camp experience more to football.

Make no mistake though; Sarine is a student of the sport. Even before outdoor track had started, Sarine had achieved the provisional height necessary for qualifying for the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athetic Conference Track and Field Championships at the end of the season. He is one of just eight pole vaulters within the conference to achieve this standard thus far in the season. Sarine will look to improve upon this mark as the season goes along in hopes of scoring in an event that didn’t  see any Glenville State athletes score but also had no Glenville State athletes participate in it at the conference meet due to the team not having a qualifier. No doubt the event requires hours of effort on one’s own time and like most track and field events, besides the relay events, could be considered an individual sport. Yet Sarine is not secretive or one to hide his extensive knowledge of the sport of pole-vaulting to himself. During practice it is a common sight to see him giving training advice to other Freshman polevault standouts Cody Masters and Kelsey Flinn. Masters plans on redshirting this year while Flinn has aspirations of her own of qualifying for conference.

Sarine’s successful path has literally taken him all over the world. His hard work in small Doddrige Country High School  led him to a state meet record as a Bulldog. However as they tell you at your graduation speech that’s only the beginning. This couldn’t be more true for Sarine as he has already accomplished so much in such a short amount of time. Yet he is here for the same reasons as most of us just trying to attain his degree and accomplish a little more along the way through the sport he loves.


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