Gorfido has one more chance to be state champ

Farragut senior in Top 5 in pole vault at Spring Fling 31

By Steve Williams

When Julian Gorfido was looking where he might fit in on the Farragut High School track and field team his freshman year, he was told where not to try.

“My coach told me I wasn’t fast enough to be a sprinter and I didn’t have the endurance to be a distance runner,” recalled Gorfido, who is now a senior and one of the best pole vaulters in the state. “I’m glad that he did, because I don’t think I could be this good in any other event. I thank him immensely, because of that comment right there. I mean it brought me to where I’m at today.”

Pole vaulting since March of his freshman season, Julian has a PR of 15 feet, 1.9 inches. He set a KIL meet record of 14-7 this season on April 29 and turned in a 14-6 performance in the Sectionals to qualify for this week’s TSSAA Division 1 Class AAA state meet at MTSU in Murfreesboro.

The 31st annual Spring Fling, which also includes boys’ and girls’ tennis, boys’ soccer, baseball and softball, begins Tuesday.

Gorfido finished a little disappointed in the KIL meet.

“I know I got the meet record – that’s great, but I felt like I could have done a lot better. I think I got in my own head too much.”

But breaking the KIL meet record was what he wanted to do. “Absolutely,” he said. “It (the former record) was 14-6 previously. I just wanted to get it out of the way until I got it.”

Julian said he had a technical issue in the KIL meet.

“The biggest problem was my run was inconsistent. I was either too close and getting hit by the pole or I was too far away and I didn’t hit it hard enough. I think I (hyped) myself up a little bit too much and I got either too fast or too slow.

“That one (the record jump) was good,” he added. “It felt great. My coach said I could have easily cleared 15 feet with that jump.

“Most of this sport is mental. It’s like your brain power is more important than your physical power.”

Gorfido said he would like to pole vault in college. “Currently I’m undecided. But that’s in my plans.”

He has received plenty of D2 interest and “a little bit of low D1” interest. “Just nothing that I’m super interested in. I would like to go to a bigger school.”

Gorfido’a goal is to clear a height at state that would attract interest from major colleges.

He placed seventh his sophomore and junior years at state, crossing over the bar a foot higher each year.

“In the indoor state this winter I placed third (14-9.25), so hopefully this year I feel like I have a decent shot at getting state champ,” said Julian. “I just got to show up and show out.”

The top sectional mark coming into the Class AAA state meet is 15-0. Gavin Bailey, Bearden junior, is one of the vaulters that cleared that height at the sectional.

Others in the Top 5 coming into the state meet are Brentwood junior Canon Kinder (15-0), Science Hill senior William Hagemeier (15-0), Gorfido (14-6) and Morristown West senior Philip Lotivio (14-6).

Size-wise, Julian is 5-foot-9 and weighs 145. “It’s better to be taller,” he said. “But I can somewhat make up for that with my speed and strength.”

Gorfido has been training the past two years under Mark Hollis at the Full Vertical Vault Club in Powell.

“He was close to being an Olympian pole vaulter,” said Gorfido. “His PR was 19-2 back in the day. He was a national champ a few times.

“He’s retired now from competing, but he’s an amazing coach; never had a better coach in my life. I wouldn’t be here without him.”

Gorfido also complimented Chelsea Osborne, Farragut’s head coach in track and field.

“She’s very encouraging,” he said. “She’s 100 percent supportive. She’s just constantly encouraging and helping me get better.

“This sport, like I said, is 90 percent mental, 10 percent physical and she helps a lot with that mental part because she is so supportive.”

“Julian is a good kid,” said Coach Osborne. “He’s worked hard the past four years to get to this point. We know it’s going to happen. He’s going to get that 15-3. He’s a good leader for the rest of the vaulters and the rest of the field event kids. He’s definitely a blessing to have on the team.”