Abby Owens path to becoming a state medalist wasn’t all that different.

After joining the cross country team in middle school she quickly realized that running wasn’t for her. She joined the track and field team, trying events like the long jump, triple jump and high jump before one of the coaches suggested she try pole vault. And it stuck.

She soon found Erica Bartolina Fraley, a former Olympic athlete, and the head coach and owner of the Louisiana Pole Vault Compound.

“She’s the reason I’m any good today,” Owens said. “Without her, I wouldn’t have the foundation to keep getting better.”

Owens jumped with Fraley for two-and-a-half years, training and learning everything that she could about the sport, before moving to Marion County. Even now, states away, the two still stay in touch with Owens even going back to train occasionally.

Owens, a senior this past season at Forest High School, took all of that training with her to the FHSAA 3A State Championships where she finished a county-best (all field events included) second place in the pole vault.

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