2013 USATF Outdoor National Championships: This meet is “make it or break it” for women’s US pole vaulters. There are no second chances to make the world team and no committee voting you through if you had a bad day. You have to be on top of your game on that day, at that time, no matter what the conditions are. If you get ill or are injured, sorry, better luck next time.
All of those things make USA’s one of the most important and stressful meets of the year. Saying you have to be mentally tough is an understatement…you have to be mentally FIERCE in order to make it through this meet.
Leading up to this meet, that’s what was on my mind. Talk about some weight on your shoulders huh? It was a must to put all of that out of my mind. The day of the meet I woke up refreshed, excited, and a little nervous. This was the day I had been waiting for since the 2012 Olympic Trials. I wanted redemption and to make that World Championship team.
I had one goal going into USA’s last Sunday(6/23/13):
1. Place in the top 3 in order to make the World Championship team.
Height didn’t matter to me until I made the team. I wanted to stick with the plan and compete. The plan was to do what makes me the most comfortable, which was to jump at 4.40m(14’5”), 4.50m(14’9”), and 4.60m(15’1”). I had been jumping those heights the last few meets so that’s what I wanted to do.
Warm ups that day weren’t the greatest, but never the less, I had my coaches Greg and Jeff telling me that I was fine. As the competition started I put my feet up, relaxed, and visualized my jumps. I was ready. I cleared 4.40m(14’5”) on my first attempt! That first clearance is always a huge relief. The bar went up to 4.50m(14’9”)…I blew through my pole on the first attempt, but came back with a nice second attempt clearance. But now, I was in 4th place. I chose to pass 4.55m(14’11”) and go straight to 4.60m(15’1”) because that was the plan. That was what I had been visualizing in the weeks coming into USA’s. This next bar was “do or die” for me. I had to clear it in order to make the World Team. Putting all of that out of my head was difficult to do, but I managed to calm myself during the few minutes I had to rest between bars. I was up first…I chalked my hands up…picked up my pole and thought, “Be tall, swing fast, and let ‘er rip”. Success! I cleared 4.60m(15’1”) on my first attempt! Wahoo! What an amazing feeling! I made the 2013 USA World Championship Team. Yes! I had two good attempts at 4.70m(15’5”) and one blow through at 4.75m(15’7”), but I didn’t care. My goal was to make The USA Team by sticking to the plan. I ended up finishing 2nd to Jen Suhr the 2012 Olympic Champion.
Women’s Team USA Pole Vaulters:
1. Jenn Suhr
2. Kylie Hutson
2. Becky Holliday
Men’s Team USA Pole Vaulters:
1. Brad Walker
2. Jeremy Scott
2. Jack Whitt