Mary Saxer almost never tried pole vaulting. The former high school and NCAA All-American and current pro didn’t even pick up the sport until her junior season at Lancaster High School. Today, as a world-touring pro pole vaulter with a Notre Dame education, Saxer can reflect on how much of her current life was determined by a series of decisions made as a teenager.
Saxer was pulled up to the Lancaster varsity track and field team while still in middle school. She was a standout sprinter and long jumper as a freshman and sophomore. In the summer between her sophomore and junior years, Saxer attended a long jump camp. While there, she was convinced by one of the coaches running the camp to give pole vaulting a try. More than a decade later, Saxer is still fully committed to the sport. “If I hadn’t decided to do track or tried long jumping or gone to that camp or listened to that coach, I don’t know where I would be,” Saxer said. “One decision could have led me down an entirely different path.”