Just as her pole vaulting career was ready to take off, Lucianne Burner found herself grounded with an injury.
With an unflappable determination and a desire to succeed, the North Pocono senior not only got back up in the air, she launched herself to a college scholarship.
On Saturday, Burner committed to continue her athletic and academic careers at Arkansas State University, which is a member of the Sun Belt Conference.
“I started screaming in the car when I read the e-mail that made it official,” Burner said. “From the first day that I moved onto pole vaulting after gymnastics, I wanted to get to college. And after being seriously injured, coming back and finally making this decision official, it is really a relief.”
After an outstanding debut season as a freshman, when she won the pole vault title at the Robert Spagna Championship meet, Burner suffered a setback the following spring when doctors found a cyst on her spinal cord.
She missed most of her sophomore season, and despite weeks of rehabilitation, failed to clear a height in the Emerging Elite competition at the New Balance National Outdoor Track and Field Championship meet at Greensboro, North Carolina.
But as a junior, Burner reclaimed her spot as the top pole vaulter in District 2.
She placed in a tie for fifth at the Pennsylvania Track and Field Coaches Association indoor championships at Penn State University with a height 11-6.
During the spring, Burner set a meet record height of 12-3 at the Robert Spagna Championships, captured a gold medal at the District 2 Class AAA championship meet and earned a silver medal at the PIAA championships with a height of 12-0.
When it came down to choosing a school, Arkansas State had everything the 17-year-old was looking for.
“They started contacting me in the summer and the school had a lot of pluses,” Burner said. “It has what I want academically. And there is a very good pole vault team there. It also has an outstanding study abroad program for the track team.
“All of that told me that this is where I wanted to be.”
Burner, who plans to study athletic training, will sign her official letter of intent Tuesday.