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The Warriors, in their first year of Division I postseason eligibility, beat No. 2 Fairleigh Dickinson University in the conference tournament finals.
Merrimack’s Class of 2023 certainly reached new heights during its time at the College. But Skyler Bomba ’23 soared above them all in one sense.
Over the past two years, Bomba has become one of the region’s preeminent pole vaulters, competing against some of the best in the NCAA and solidifying her name in the Merrimack Athletics’ record books.
“I absolutely love that feeling of clearing a higher height,” said Bomba, a nursing major. “It is so rewarding because you’ve put in so much work, time and energy at practice, in the lift room, and mentally to be a better vaulter than you were yesterday.”
Among Bomba’s accolades include setting the pole vault record at Merrimack College at 13 feet and a quarter inch, winning the 2023 Northeast Conference Indoor Track and Field pole vault championship, earning first-team all-conference honors for the 2022-23 indoor season and finishing third at the prestigious Raleigh Relays this past March.
“I was star-struck at Raleigh,” she said. “It was just cool to be able to vault with those athletes. While we were there, my dad had to keep reminding me I had earned my spot and deserved to be there.”
Bomba got into pole vaulting after 13 years of gymnastics. She started under the tutelage of Brenner Abbott, the pole vaulting coach at Harvard University. Soon after she picked up the sport, Abbott told her she would be a “13-foot jumper,” a mark that puts female jumpers in the top echelon of collegiate pole vault.
That prophecy did not come to fruition until recently after Ashley Craig signed on as the volunteer pole vault coach at Merrimack.
“She just clicks with each athlete in a different way and really pushes us,” said Bomba. “I didn’t set a personal record until my junior year, and I PR’d by a foot, and then I PR’d another by another foot this year. That doesn’t usually happen. At best you PR by a couple of inches.”
When jumping, Bomba says there are a lot of factors to consider including weather, what type of pole to use, the height you need to clear and getting your approach correct. But for her, she tries to keep her focus on a couple of things at a time.
“You can’t think of everything,” Bomba noted. “Your body knows how to do it so you should always be thinking about jumping as high as you can.”