Inter-Lakes coaches want to help vault athletes to the top with investment in equipment
MEREDITH — Veteran coaches Sandy and George Frost, the faces of the Inter-Lakes track and field team, recently stunned the school community when they donated $10,595 to buy pole vaulting equipment.
“We’re not rich people, but we decided to take a good chunk of our retirement funds and donate them where they could do the most good for kids,” George Frost told the school board, his voice thick with emotion and his eyes beginning to tear.
On Thursday, as he and his wife prepared for team practice he talked about what motivated their gift which is both significant and impactful.
“We’ve done things like this before, pay it forward. It’s a wonderful feeling.”
The couple had been hoping for years that their request for pole vaulting equipment would survive the budget process, but can readily understand the tough decisions facing the administration and the school board.
“We’re taxpayers too,” he said.
The couple’s decision to donate the cash was sealed when Drew Schriewer, who had learned to pole vault in his native Texas, enrolled at Inter-Lakes.
While both of the Frosts are certified pole vaulting coaches, Sandy took Schriewer under her wing.
Without any equipment at Inter-Lakes, Schriewer only got to practice at away meets. Despite the disadvantage, he jumped his own record high of 11 ft. six inches en route to clinching the D3 championship. His goal is to break the Inter-Lakes record of 11’8’’ that had stood since the 1960s.
“I knew this was the time to do it with Drew on the team for two more years. It’s not selfish just for him but for Drew to teach others. He’s a very humble person, sincere, giving, listens and never complains,” Sandy Frost said.
The Frosts’ donation will fund the purchase of specialty protective matts that the vaulters land on after making their jumps, as well as the uprights and bar.
The Frosts work to motivate kids and help them see that there are greater things inside them than sometimes they know. And they know the value of a successful athlete mentoring others.
Fellow coaches, students and volunteers say the Frost’s influence not only the track and field program they coach, but that their mentoring of students has had a lasting impact. The lessons they happily teach follow many of their young charges into adulthood.
“I am so amazed by the generosity of the Frosts. When George first called me to let me know the plan, I was speechless. This act shows just how dedicated they are to the sport of track and field and to the Inter-Lakes Track and Field program. Inter-Lakes athletes for many years to come will benefit from this donation. We have some amazingly dedicated coaches here at Inter-Lakes. George and Sandy are perfect examples of why we have had so much success over the years in many of our programs,” said Athletic Director Jeff Cloos.
Schriewer is among the long list of the Frosts’ successful protégés who have won individual D3 champion titles. In 2015, the Frosts help coach the boy’s track team to win the D3 championship.
The couple have taken what they have learned on the court and the ski slopes and imparted on kids while offering direction and encouragement at a critical time in many young people’s lives and they credit Assistant Coaches Steve Jurius and Carl Johnson for the important role they play in helping to do that.
Sandy was a stand-out high school athlete and played every sport except for track as it wasn’t offered at her school. One of identical triplets she breaks into a laugh as she recounts how opposing softball coaches would complain her team was batting out of order when the same face stepped to the plate and again pounded the ball.
George displayed his athletic prowess on snow as a freestyle skier. He placed second in the 1977 World Cup and went on to coach the U.S. Freestyle Team from 1979-1981.
Both came to the realization in high school that they wanted to coach and pursued that goal.
After graduating from Plymouth State University, Sandy taught part-time and coached at New Hampton School for a year. She then enrolled at Northeastern and earned her masters degree in recreation and leisure.
Meanwhile, George was coaching at elite ski academies.
They both have long led by example and their latest act of
philanthropy may just spill over not only to the kids they coach, but the people around them.
A more tangible benefit of the new equipment will be to give the team the chance to compete in an additional event, and score more points, allowing them to at least keep pace with schools that have pole vaulting or perhaps even given Inter-Lakes the edge for a win.
The couple’s generosity has already sparked some reciprocity. When the Frosts drove to Westborough, MA., to Patriot Pole Vaulting, set on renting six poles for the team the business owner waived the $300 annual fee, after learning they had taken money out of their own pocket to pay for the equipment to launch their program.
Vaulting poles typically cost between $400 and $600 each and are paired to their users based on height and weight. Patriot purchases a variety of poles and then rents them for $50 a year to promote the sport to young athletes.
The Inter-Lakes team now has four boys and three girls doing ground drills in preparation for their first chance to take a true leap of faith.
And when they land the only people smiling more broadly will be Sandy and George Frost.