For Andi Breitowich, it was a long, arduous road back. But every minute was worth the wait.
The La Lumiere School pole vaulter tore her ACL last summer while competing in the sport.
That injury was really disheartening for Breitowich, as she got injured at the very beginning of the summer. It was a setback, because she lost the whole season, and summer is the most important season. And then, she wasn’t released until February. So it was basically seven months with very little physical activity for Breitowich. That was very hard for her, both obviously, physically, and mentally, when she was so used to working out every single day.
Breitowich pushed through the adversity, though, and just recently earned third place in the Region 7 Championships on July 10 at Ball State University. Fittingly, that meet was the one-year anniversary of her surgery.
“It’s challenging, and you have to really just think about what the end result will be,” Breitowich said. “And trying to get back to where you were before, and just focusing on rehabbing. So it was difficult. But this meet kind of just validated that I’m back. And I’m better than I was before.”
Breitowich, a La Lumiere School senior, of La Porte, competed in the 2016 USATF Indiana Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships on June 26 at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind. She claimed first place in the women’s 17-18 division pole vault, clearing 9-8, which advanced her to the Region 7 Championships on July 7-10, also at Ball State University. Breitowich placed third in that meet, clearing 10-2 on July 10.
The top five athletes of the Region 7 Championships qualified for the National Junior Olympic Championships at Sacramento State University in Sacramento, California, from July 25-31.
Breitowich was understandably thrilled to punch her ticket to the National Junior Olympic Championships.
“It’s very exciting,” Breitowich said. “I’m going into my senior year and I hope to pole vault in college. So it’s all a very exciting time, because I get to meet a lot of other girls who are going through kind of the same thing. It’s an accomplishment that a lot of college coaches are going to be looking at.”
Breitowich used to be a gymnast for 11 years. And she said being a pole vaulter is similar to being a gymnast, because they have spacial awareness and aren’t afraid of being upside down in the air.
Breitowich is aiming to use those skills to be a pole vaulter collegiately.
“I’m kind of looking into that and looking at some schools where pole vaulting is successful, and if they have pole vaulting,” she said. “But I definitely want to do it in college.”
Breitowich added competing in the national championships will be quality preparation for college pole vaulting.
“It’s great,” Breitowich said. “It’s a great experience because it’s kind of similar to college meets. So it’s really good for kind of the college process of getting started to try and find a good fit.”