Matteo Madrassi launches over the competition and excels at CPP

By Christie Counts, April 11, 2023

Matteo Madrassi, a pole vaulter at Cal Poly Pomona, soared to new heights with a series of impressive performances for CPP and outside of the nation. Madrassi’s physical and mental obstacles throughout his life allowed his wings to spread and ascend over competitors. Madrassi secured the top spot in the 2023 NCAA Division Two Performance List in pole vaulting and the CCAA Athlete of the Week award Feb. 27 – March 5.

Madrassi’s performance at the Beach Opener in Long Beach helped him earn the honor where he tied for first place in the pole vault event at 5.10 meters. He cleared the height on his first attempt against division one competition. He now leads the CCAA rankings, with 0.70 meters between him and his closest opponent.

According to the NCAA Division Two Performance List, Madrassi is ranked first in the nation for pole vaulting, and he leads the next position by 0.25 meters.

Courtesy of Mateo Madrassi

“I was aiming to jump more, you know,” said Madrassi. “Unfortunately I only cleared 5.10. My personal best is 5.41, but it was a pretty solid opening of the season.”

Madrassi’s personal best record for California is 5.20, but not on the international level.
In a small village on the border of Austria, Madrassi competed in a pole-vaulting event August, where he skyrocketed to a new personal best of 5.41 meters while his loved ones cheered him on.

Madrassi expressed how important it was to have his family from Udine, Italy, where he grew up, at this meet to support him and witness his personal best.

Growing up in Udine Italy, Madrassi expressed the importance of his family witnessing him at this meet with their support.

“It was very nice to have this family trip together,” Madrassi said. “Their support is my tool in the days before the competition and during the competition. They were there watching me when I got my PR [Personal Record], so they got to see my highest jump. Then we took some pictures together, so it was a really nice family moment.”

Before these successful competitions, Madrassi faced a difficult challenge. During COVID-19 Madrassi returned to Italy when his shoulder began to feel unstable while pole vaulting in a workout for the national team.

After receiving an MRI, the doctor found a small bone in Madrassi’s shoulder had broke. With this diagnosis, Madrassi had to receive stabilization surgery. Post-surgery, a physiotherapist helped Madrassi return to pole vaulting shape. But upon his return to CPP, another obstacle stood in the way of his pole vaulting.

“Everything was going fine till we started to jump again,” said Madrassi. “I had this mental block that was caused by a series of other things happening in my life. Basically, I was not able to take off anymore. I was running with the pole, and at the last step I was not jumping anymore because I was scared of something.”

Upon recognizing this roadblock prohibiting his performance, Madrassi searched for a mental health professional to help him work through this blockage.

“Then I started the process with a therapist and slowly started to come back,” said Madrassi. “And the first time I actually jumped it was at the conference championship of 2022, where I finally took off and jumped over five meters and winning that competition.”

After the conference championship, Madrassi went to the APU Last Chance, with the outcome of this competition determining whether he would make it to nationals. After winning APU Last Chance, Madrassi jumped his PR of 5.20, and received seventh place at nationals.

This past summer Madrassi returned to Italy and began training with the national team once again. Madrassi had a successful season with the national team and jumped his personal best in August of 5.41 meters.

Madrassi’s enthusiasm for pole vaulting sparked in 2014 when his physical education teacher took notice of Madrassi doing flips and climbing everywhere in the school yard. The teacher encouraged Madrassi to utilize his natural gymnast skills into pole vaulting, a career that continues to offer Madrassi new opportunities.

“It was my physical education teacher that asked me to come try out,” Madrassi said. “And I started and that’s why I’m here in the U.S.”

Madrassi began to seek a new atmosphere after attending Indiana Tech his freshamn year of college. Thanks to some Italian friends who were already in California, Madrassi contacted Coach Bradford, who happily recruited him onto CPP’s Track and Field team.

Pursing a dream while far away from family, friends and past coaches can be a challenge, but Madrassi found inspiration in how pole vaulting has provided for him.

In addition, he also expressed how pole vaulting has given him not only a chance to compete in a sport he loves but the chance to complete a degree he is passionate about: Industrial Engineering.

“The possibility to keep doing something that is good for me and that I enjoy (is my inspiration), because I enjoy pole vaulting,” said Madrassi. “The goal is to keep doing it for as long as I can and to get higher and higher every time. And it gave me the possibility to study here abroad. So, thanks to pole vaulting that’s why I am here at Cal Poly, a good engineering school.”

Madrassi plans to keep propelling forward in the world of pole vaulting and see where his athletic career can take him.

“The goal right now is to still jump as high as I can,” said Madrassi. “I am 20 centimeters apart from qualifying for the Olympics team for Italy. I want to keep jumping until I can and after that, using my experiences as a engineer student to find work hopefully here in the U.S. or somewhere else. It would be nice to do something regarding the pole-vaulting industry.”

Cementing his place in CPP, Madrassi has recently set the school record in his most recent meet by clearing 17 feet, 7 inches, or 5.39 meters.

Feature image courtesy of Mateo Madrassi 

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