Rookie Falcons cheerleader Kat M. will be spending her summer doing more than just learning choreography for the upcoming season. This week, she’ll be traveling to Eugene, Ore., to hopeful fulfill what has been a lifelong dream of hers.
Kat is participating in the USA Track and Field Olympic Team Trials this week at the University of Oregon and is hoping to earn a spot on Team USA for the Summer Games in London later this summer. A pole vaulter with just three years of experience in the event, Kat is one of the best in the country and primed to make a run at a Team USA spot.
“It has been a dream of mine to go to the Olympics since I was little, but I just never thought that my best chance at that would be in pole vault,” Kat said. “I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast since I started at age 4. It wasnt until I transfered to UGA and qualified for the NCAA National championships that I realized it was a possibility in track and field. I know that this week the odds of me finishing top three are slim since I am far less experienced than any other girl out there.”
The top three finishers in the event will get that coveted spot on the team for the London games, and Kat is currently ranked in the late teens. Not bad for just a handful of years experience.
Kat discovered pole vaulting when she was cheerleading at Clemson. When the Tigers scored during a game, Kat was doing back flips in the endzone. She caught the eye of the assistant track coach at the time and decided she looked relatively athletic and taller than most of the other cheerleaders.
Running into him one day, a conversation was struck about Kat’s background in gymnastics (she was a Level 10 gymnast by the age of 11) and the topic switched to pole vaulting. She came to the track for a tryout and the rest is what she hops to be Olympic history.
“It’s going to be one of the best experiences of my life and I just want to go out, do my best and hopefully make it to Finals,” Kat said. “As of now, I’m planning on hanging up the spikes after trials, but who knows? I might change my mind. There’s always Rio.”
By Jay Adams