The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

Local Sports

July 3, 2014

Richland pole vaulter decides on Red Flash

JOHNSTOWN — Maddison Feather has sailed to great heights throughout her scholastic career at Richland High School.

Feather – a pole vaulter – takes away a District 6 title and an appearance in the PIAA championship meet from her senior season with the Rams.

While her high school career has ended, her time with pole vaulting will take a step upward at St. Francis University.

Feather’s signing ceremony at Richland High verified her decision on Thursday, citing the interest in her from the Red Flash program helped ease her into the decision to take her skills to Loretto.

“It felt amazing to know that a coach wanted me on the team so much that they actually came to see me at districts and at states,” Feather said.

“I was in a rut. I didn’t know where I wanted to go at all, I just kept searching and I reached out to a couple of track teams, but it felt nice to have a team reach out to me.” 

Feather’s vault of 10 feet worked her into a tie for 11th place at May’s PIAA championship meet at Shippensburg University. That same height took her to the top of the District 6 podium a week earlier and played a role in the Rams’ quest toward a team title at the district meet.

She also placed in the long jump and triple jump at this year’s district meet with top billing in the pole vault at the 2013 District 6 meet and a second-place finish as a freshman in 2011’s District 6 championship.

While the success was spread throughout her four years at Richland, Feather’s last year with the Rams was possibly her most memorable if you ask her.

“It was probably the best senior year that I could have asked for,” Feather said. “I couldn’t have done it without my coaches and family behind my back.”

Larry Layton, her pole vaulting coach at Richland noted that as much as the program helped Feather, her work ethic and success with the Rams showed younger vaulters what can be theirs. 

“We’re definitely building a program and getting kids interested in pole vaulting,” Layton said. “Maddison is a dedicated, hard-working athlete that put 110 percent of her effort into everything she does and that set an example for the younger kids coming up who have seen her success.

In Feather’s opinion, the staff at Richland managed to get the best out of her and her teammates each spring.

“Richland’s best interest was to make sure that I’m reaching my potential and the coaches never gave up on me or anyone else on the team for that matter.”

Feather has also carved a name for herself in the area’s gymnastics scene, competing for TNT Gymnastics based in Richland Township. She took 13th place in the all-around competition during March’s Level 8 state championship in Reading.

Feather, who plans on majoring in exercise physiology at St. Francis, is the daughter of Dana Maldet and Craig Feather.

Shawn Curtis is the sports editor of The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at

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