Tim St. Lawrence
When looking at the history of track and field in Rockland County, one cannot avoid frequent encounters with the surname St. Lawrence. Joe St. Lawrence was the 25-year coach of Suffern High’s track team from the 1940s through the mid-’60s, before entering the state Legislature and later serving as the County treasurer. His sons all embraced his enthusiastic love of track and field and excelled each in their own way in the sport.
Timothy, the second son of Marguerite and Joe St. Lawrence, showed the promise of athletic greatness even as a small child. He excelled at basketball, football, swimming, diving and being able to amaze his friends with his ability to do acrobatic tricks. The St. Lawrences’ “back yard” was expansive, and frequently with help from his dad, he and his friends would hold small track meets. Tim was usually a leading point-getter in those meets. Nothing much changed as he grew as an athlete. He was usually one of the best athletes in any contest he competed in.
In 1962, when Tim was in eighth grade, a pole vaulter named John Uelses became the first to clear the 16-foot barrier. He was using a pole made of fiberglass as well as a new technique. Tim knew at that point that he wanted to be a pole vaulter. As a freshman at Suffern High, he matched the school record of 11 feet 6 inches set in 1955, and later that year cleared 12 feet. He, along with David Mumme of Spring Valley, pioneered the use of the fiberglass pole in this area. In four years (1963 through 1966), he helped to bring high school vaulting to an entire new level of achievement. County championships typically won at 11 feet now ascended to 12, 13, and eventually 14 feet plus in a matter of just four years.
Never selfish about his knowledge of the event, he conducted clinics for his competitors that lifted the level of local competition exponentially. The landing pit erected in the St. Lawrences’ back yard (ball nets stuffed with strips of foam rubber recovered from the International Nickel Plant in Sloatsburg) was probably one of the best places around for a young vaulter to learn and excel. It became a local mecca where pole vaulters could come to “play.” Just a couple of years later as Tim became a collegian, the back-yard pit hosted some of the best pole vaulters in the nation, as they would drop by to visit and train.
Tim capped an outstanding run in high school by winning the pole vault at the New York State championships in 1966. His winning performance of 14-5 ¼ set a New York State record, and 44 years later it remains as the Suffern High School record in the event.
At the University of Alabama he won four varsity letters in track and field. At the Alabama Relays in 1971, he set an Alabama school record with a personal best performance of 17 feet, 1 ¼ inches. After college, he competed for the New York Athletic Club, where he won 19 consecutive Metropolitan Association pole vault championships – nine indoors and 10 outdoors. This is a Metropolitan Association record for an individual in any track and field event that still stands today. During this time he competed in the 1972 U.S. Olympic Trials, and represented the U.S.A. in meets in Edinburgh, Scotland; Ontario, Canada; and Tel Aviv, Israel. He was on the East team of the inaugural Olympic Sports Festival in 1976. If you ask Tim what time it is today, he possibly would be looking at the watch he won as champion of the Penn Relays Olympic Development pole vault in 1976, where he jumped 16-6.
Following the inspiration of his father, Tim, sought a career in teaching and coaching. As superb as he was as an athlete, as a coach he has been simply sensational. He coached for 33 seasons in track and cross country at Warwick Valley High School in Orange County. His cross country teams won 27 championships there and won the NYSPHSAA state title four times (1982, 1994, 1995 and 2007). His outdoor track teams won 30 championships and were New York State Class B champions in 1997. He began the indoor track program in 1978, and the team won 20 championships under his tutelage.
In 1997 he was honored as the National Federation of High Schools Athletic Association’s Cross Country Coach of the Year.
Tim has coached 40 state champions (22 in cross country, 18 in track), 32 high school All-Americas, and has had 18 teams over the years ranked nationally. His cross country teams compiled a dual-meet winning streak of 156 victories, while his outdoor track teams amassed an even more remarkable streak of 167 consecutive wins.
His incredible enthusiasm for track and field has now been communicated to two generations. He has become a master promoter of the sport, and is currently the director of the Purple Wave Fast Times Relays – one of the most popular meets among athletes in the area. In 2006 he also started a highly successful pole-vaulting academy, the Hudson Valley Flying Circus, in Warwick.
Many of Tim’s graduates have gone on to excel in collegiate track – including an NCAA champion. Many more have gone on to become coaches as well.
Tim is retired after a long year career as a physical education teacher in the Warwick Valley Schools. He is married to Alice (Wolf) St. Lawrence and they have two sons – Timothy, 30, and Michael, 28 – who were both members of a state championship cross country team while at Goshen High School. The St. Lawrences reside in Goshen, N.Y.
Bio coming soon…
Ben was born on November 15, 1974 in Portugal, where he lived until he was 17. At that time he was very involved in gymnastics.
In 1992 he attended college in Belgium where he learned to pole vault in 1995. He later graduated with a degree in Physical Education which he taught in schools form 1996 to 1998 as he continued vaulting. He was among the top 5 vaulters in Belgium from 1996 to 2008 during which time he also managed track and field clubs.
He set his personal best in 2000 of 17′ 4.5″ which stands as the 10th best all time Belgian performance. In ’98, ’01, ’03, ’04 he was the French community Belgian champion.
He married to his wife, Samoa, in 2009, moved to the states in 2011 and now has two children.
Will began vaulting at Millburn High School in NJ, where he was State Champion and All-American in 1980 in the pole vault (16’4”) and decathlon. He then competed for Duke University and later received an MBA from Harvard Business School. Since his graduation from Harvard, Will has held a number of senior executive positions in private equity and investment management.
In 2012, Will rediscovered his passion for pole vaulting at the Flying Circus and now competes in the Masters Division, placing 2nd in the 2013 National Indoor Championships and 4th in the Outdoor Championships. He is also on the Board of Directors and is Chairman of the Development Committee at the Armory Foundation, which runs the Armory Track & Field Center in New York City.
Will is a member of the Global Advisory Council of TechnoServe, a global nonprofit organization that develops business solutions to poverty by linking enterprising people in the developing world to information, capital and markets. He is also a member of the Advisory Council of Osa Conservation, a nonprofit which applies scientific, educational, economic and management expertise to protecting the habitats, people and wildlife of the Osa Peninsula, Cosa Rica. Will and his wife Michelle live in New York City.
Stephanie Duffy put the Flying Circus on the Vault Map…with her 3 New York State Pole Vaulting Championships( 13′ 1.5″) …her 3 Time All-American High School honors…her Runner-Up at Nike Outdoor Nationals (12′ 10.75″)…Her Many Diving Accomplishments at Washingtonville High School…her National Honor Society accomplishments and her Perfect Attendance all four years in High School and her leadership skills both in High School and College.
Stephanie competed at a Championship Level for the University of South Florida, Tampa,Florida for coaching legend…Don Marsh. She was BIG EAST POLE VAUL Champion…a 5 Time ACADEMIC ALL-AMERICAN with a personal best pole vault of 13′ 6.25″ for the South Florida BULLS Track & Field Team. She majored in Elementary Education and graduated with Honors and Dean List status and now teaches young Elementary Students in her home district at Washington Central Schools,New York. Her positive approach in teaching and her patience with young children are above reproach. She has excellent Bio-Mechanics understanding of the complex pole vaulting movements.