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World-class athletes taking notice of Ron Wiser’s work
By Brett R. Whitling
Clarion News Writer CLARION, PA
Ron Wiser of Sligo is a former pole vault athlete who has invented a device intended to increase the safety of other pole-vaulters around the world.
The invention is called “PoleSok.” It is a 40-inch long protective sleeve created to keep the grip end of vaulting poles dry and warm for athletes competing or practicing in wet or cold conditions.
Wiser said if an athlete’s pole grip becomes wet from rain or snow, it is not only unsafe, but it will also result in poor jumps.
“The PoleSok works as a portable dryer,” Wiser said. “Without a dry grip on the pole, you can’t jump. It doesn’t affect how the pole performs but it gets it where it needs to be.”
As a previous pole-vault athlete and coach, Wiser said he witnessed many situations of athletes losing out on opportunities for scholarships and even going to the Olympics due to rain during competition.
“I’ve seen competitions against teams from California -- where they are able to practice all year round,” Wiser said. “This allows us to practice all year round and ensures safety for the (athlete) as well.”
How it works
Wiser began working on the PoleSok two years ago and finished the final product around Thanksgiving of 2016. The PoleSok consists of several components which can dry and warm up a pole handle in 10 minutes.
The handle is put into a tube at the bottom of the PoleSok and then closed up. Around the tube is a piece of canvas lined with pockets to hold up to a dozen hand warmers.
The outer red tube made of foam. It works as an insulator and has textured adhesive on the outside giving the PoleSok more grip while carrying it.
Holes on the bottom of the PoleSok allow cool air to enter into the tube, releasing warm air from the top.
Wiser said the hand warmers on the inside heat up the pole handle to approximately 115 degrees and can stay warm for up to 10 hours.
“On warmer days, two hand warmers are adequate,” said Wiser. “It costs about $2 to fill the PoleSok with hand warmers.”
Wiser said Brookville Glove sews up the canvas for the PoleSok and also has the capability to mass-produce the foam tube at another site in Fayette City. Wiser said the PoleSok will cost $150 per unit or $100 if bought at wholesale.
Wiser said his invention is beginning to receive attention from coaches and professional pole-vault athletes.
Wiser said a known world-class female has been showing interest in sponsoring the PoleSok.
The athlete told Wiser she sees the PoleSok as a safety measure which should be made mandatory for school teams and competitions. Wiser said another professional pole-vault athlete interested in PoleSok is three-time national champion Mark Hollis.
Hollis says on his website, he had the opportunity to go on to the 2012 Olympics but the heavy rain and wind caused him to miss the chance of being on Team U.S.A. by two spots.
Following the missed opportunity, Hollis said his confidence in being able to hold on to the pole was shaken for a year. Wiser said the PoleSok is designed for those occasions where keeping a steady grip will allow athletes to continue with pole-vaulting.
Coaches of other sports have also expressed interest to Wiser in creating variations of the PoleSok for other sports.
A softball coach told Wiser a variation of the PoleSok for aluminum bats would be great to keep them warm and dry for practice in the off-season. Another track-and-field coach expressed interest in a PoleSok variation to keep a discus warm and dry so athletes can maintain their grip when throwing.
Now that the PoleSok is fully patented and designed, Wiser is working on connecting with schools, clubs and professional pole vault athletes to get the word out in hope of creating a new safety measure for the world of pole-vaulting.
Article first published in Clarion News on 02/14/2017
John Tibbs took advantage of the rainy weather today, by jumping his way to victory. When the rain was coming down and other vaulters were having a hard time getting a grip on their pole, Tibbs was able to grip his warm, dry pole win the event.
Tibbs is a pole vaulter for the Redbank Valley Bulldogs and he is headed for continued success in the pole vault. Coach Wiser was very pleased with the performance of Tibbs at the meet and credits the POLESOK for his success over the competition.
As the rain continues to pour throughout April, Tibbs will look to continue to take advantage of the POLESOK at Redbank's meets. This Saturday, the team will be taking on the Hickory Hornets in Hermitage.
Thank you Karlie and Dennis for having us at the 2017 Akron Pole Vault Convention! We had a great time and it was an awesome experience getting to meet so many talented athletes in the pole vault, including World Champion Jenn Suhr.
The Akron Zips have a beautiful facility and the hospitality was top-notch.
We would like to wish all of the competitors a healthy and succussful 2017 season.
On Saturday, history was being made at LSU's Carl Maddox Field House. Lafayette High School junior, Armand Diplantis, had recently vaulted a national prep record 18 feet, 6½ inches — the top vault of any pole vaulter his age, 17, has ever recorded.
Diplantis was feeling good about his jump, but he wanted to go higher still. On his subsequent jump, he cleared 18 feet 9-1/4 inches to set the junior world record.
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