Jaques Sisters Raise the Bar


Jaques Family

Sentimental sister moments shared on the track

Alexa Westlake, Editor

You take a deep breath and battle to calm your own psyche and bring your mind to peace. As soon as you have found a place of balance, you open your eyes and begin your full blown sprint from your measured starting point.

You ignore the fact that your entire body is screaming as you push off every step with all your strength because your mind is focused on one thing: making sure you get a good plant with the long, light pole in your hands.

As soon as the pole connects in the desired position, the magic happens. Physics and your strong core combine as you skillfully hurl yourself 12 feet into the air, feet first over the bar. Now, this sensation may be foreign to you, but this is reality for Sydney and Mackenzie Jaques.

Thirty minutes on vault, one hour running, one hour bar work, 30 minutes core work, 30 minutes weight room time could have the average grown man tired for the rest of the day. For the Jaques sisters on the other hand, this could easily be their warm up. They train voraciously, always looking toward the future. With intense workouts six days a weeks and a meet on the seventh, Sydney and Mackenzie Jaques train with their eyes on the prize.

In order to take home titles, the sisters agree this training schedule is necessary. According to Mackenzie, “Only two boys do more than us, the two  varsity boys. One of them is almost at 14 feet 9 inches, the other is 12 feet 6 inches.” The amount of strength and devotion to their workouts makes these two an unstoppable force.

But before you drop your books and run to the gym, there is another side of pole vaulting that you should consider. “Eat, sleep, breathe pole vault” was the first thing out of both of the sister’s mouths during an interview. Indeed, the sport rules their lives.  “There is no social life during track season. I don’t go out on Friday nights” said Sydney. Many forget that behind success is commitment. With the rigor of both track and school, Sydney often finds herself exhausted.

The Jaques family is, by definition, a pole vault family. Many of us are familiar with Taylore Jaques (‘14), who is currently pole vaulting at Stanford University. However, the name Warren Jaques, their father, is not as well known in the Pres community. “My dad went to Del Mar and loved pole vaulting. He jumped in the 18 feet and could have gone to the Olympics, but it was the year they boycotted,” said Mackenzie.

While successful predecessors inspire the younger Jaques sisters, they also set the expectations of the bar, literally and figuratively in this case, very high. “[Taylore’s] the example we have,” said Mackenzie.

“I have grown accustomed to answering to ‘Taylore’ on the track,” said Sydney. Pressure and competition between the sisters pushes them to work even harder. “It took my dad a few years to realize I’m not Taylore,” said Sydney.

The sisters are trained by  Bob Silver, the same man who coached their father.Silver was also the top national female coach of the year last year. The sisters agree, with enthusiasm, that he is a great coach.”He’s laid back, and knows what he’s doing. He doesn’t have to be too vocal or yell and he knows when to stop and knows when you’re hurting”, said Mackenzie.

While Silver pushes the Jaques sisters on the track, they have another coach that they see much more often than practice: their father.

Having a parent to push them means the sport comes home with them and is always in the back of their minds.”He limits what we eat, makes us go to bed on time, and even sends me videos of technique when I’m at school,” said Sydney.

Mackenzie agrees and even said that, “Pole vaulting is all we talk about. Everything we do is related to pole vaulting, even getting good grades.”

However, these girls don’t by any means just do this sport because their dad makes them. They are motivated by not only competition, but the potential for jumping high enough to land a hefty scholarship. “Jump high so you get into a great college and don’t have to pay for it,” said Sydney. Being sore today gives the opportunity for an open future tomorrow.

Sydney and Mackenzie are no doubt goal oriented, demonstrated by commitment to sprinting and running in the offseason coupled with muscle workouts to keep them in shape. These girls embody the pole vaulting lifestyle and are athletes to the core. Ambition drives both sisters to do their best. “I’d like to beat Taylore, break some records, and go to a college with good coaching. Just jump really high like 16 feet,” said Sydney in regards to her future plans.

The Jaques sisters do what they do because it is what they love. And unlike the average pres girl, their love isn’t all netflix and mission drive goodies. Love for their sport consumes their time, diet, and mindset. Not so coincidentally, love and drive for their sport is precisely what makes them so successful.