Micaela Conter has a lot of reasons for recommending pole vault as a sport for someone interested in track and field.
“ If you are looking for life long friends, great and caring coaches and huge success, pole vaulting is where you should go,” she said. “Throughout the years, I have never left practice thinking I just wasting my time.”
Indeed, Conter was not wasting her time – in fact, her time lifted her to great heights on and off the track.
We will get to all those “heights” in a moment. Because when Conter talks about what really made her experience at Dexter High School special, it has more to do with the team and her “closest friends” than personal success.
“I am most proud of the success the pole vault team had,” she says. “In the 2012 season alone we took 13 pole vaulters to regionals and eight vaulters to states. It was a great experience to be apart of the Dexter pole vault team. My greatest competition is on this team. Also, some of my closest friends are on this team. My teammates have always given me support, I can only hope I gave them just as much.”
Conter finished her outstanding high school career with a regional championship and landed in the third place at the Division 1 state meet. She also qualified for and recently participated in the National Elite Athletes Meet in North Carolina.
She was the DHS track and field Most Valuable Athlete, and was co-female Athlete of the Year for DHS (with soccer star Victoria Pepper).
Conter’s incredible success earned her a track and field scholarship to Central Michigan University. She is obviously excited about the next chapter in her life.
“After visiting many schools, I chose Central Michigan University because I felt comfortable there and everyone was extremely kind to me,” she said. “It just felt like a good fit. My goals for my freshman year is to qualify for the NCAA Championship. That would be a huge accomplishment.”
During her freshmen year at DHS, she was All-Conference (second place), All-Region (second) and was a state qualifier. In her sophomore year, she was SEC champion, All-Region (second), Outdoor All-State (seventh), and given the DHS Coaches Award.
As a junior, she was All Conference (first), All-Region (second), All- State (third), National Medalist (sixth) and voted the Track and Field MVP athlete.
Conter credits her Dexter coaches for a good deal of her success. Longtime Dexter coaches Geoff and Janell Gerstner have developed two state champions and 14 regional champions, including Micaela.
“I first started pole vaulting in seventh grade,” she said. “The coaches came to one of our practices and told us, if you want to try pole vaulting, come with us. I was very intrigued by their enthusiasm so I followed them and immediately fell in love with the sport.”
Success came early and often for Conter.
“I started to have success early, so that was encouraging, but mostly it was because (Geoff and Janell) made the practices and meets so much fun that it was tough to tear myself away,” she said. “Then I realized that pole vaulting can be a year-round sport, and I was hooked.
“(Geoff and Janell) are two of the greatest coaches I have ever had. Coach Geoffrey knows everything one needs to know about the vault. He is so brilliant. He has even created a mathematical equation on the vault. More importantly, both are incredible mentors to everyone on the field and off.”
Training for the pole vault isn’t as easy as it is for other sports. But no one said pole vaulting is easy and Conter isn’t the type of person to shy away from a challenge.
“Training for pole vaulting is extremely challenging because you have to use every muscle in your body in each vault,” she said. “Since track and field is a Spring sport we start training in the fall. We would weight lift and do speed training two or three times a week before school and then condition once a week. Once winter came around we added in vaulting two times a week.
“When we practice vaulting we mainly work on the run and the form of the vault. We only do 5-10 full vaults near the end of each practice.”
When it’s time to step to the line, Conter is all business and focuses on what she needs to do to clear the bar.
“To help me prepare for a meet, I just think about my own pole vaulting,” she said. “I don’t think of the competition or my chances of winning because those are things I can not control. Instead, I think about my form and speed, what I need to work on, etc.”
Conter had a lot to be proud of last year but being a captain was near the top of the list.
“Being a captain this year meant a lot to me,” she said. “Some of my duties were to make sure everyone attended meets and practices, get practices going and roll efficiently, make sure everyone is respectful and not giving the coaches and teammates attitude.
“Aside from doing a few administrative duties, I felt my main goal was to be a leader, and bring a positive attitude to the team.”
Conter’s best jump this past year was at the Larry Steeb Meet of Champions on May 30. She cleared a jump of 12-feet, 1-inch which helped her qualify for the National Elite competition. New Balance sponsors both the indoor (New York City) and outdoor (Greensboro, NC) high school national meets. There are two divisions, emerging elite and elites and each division has its own qualification benchmarks.
“National competitions are extremely different than local competitions,” Conter said. “Being on the same field as the best high school athletes in the nation is a great feeling. I just felt honored to be there.”
And she certainly belonged there.
Parents: Michael and Kathleen Conter
Siblings: Brennan Conter (18), Taylor Conter (20)
College: Central Michigan University (Business)
Hobbies and interests: Fishing, boating, and especially eating ice cream.
Other sports: Beach volleyball and tubing.
by: Terry Jacoby
Go Mic! We love you! This is a great article and well-deserved. Vaulters should know how consistent you were–in her 4-year high school career, Micaela made heights at every meet except one and placed/medalled at every meet except 4.