This entry is a bit delayed. I am finally recovering from a roller coaster of a weekend and have discovered a moment to sit down and write about the explosion of emotions I experienced over the last few days. This past Friday night I broke the indoor collegiate record in the women’s polevault. Talk about excitement! It was only the second meet of my season, and I have many more to look forward to. I knew coming into this year that I would likely break the record and probably quckly… but the second meet?!
I have been working extremely hard in the weight room, on the track, and on the runway to get better at every aspect of the vault that I can. After watching the video of myself jumping 4.61m this past Friday, I also know that I have a lot of room for improvement when it comes to technique. This brings me great joy and motivation because I know that with more hard work I can jump even higher. But here is the twist… the very next day… only 18 hours after I jumped 4.61m, Demi Payne of Stephen F. Austin put the bar at 4.63m (2 cm higher because they incorrectly heard I had jumped 62)… and she made it over! So, I was the collegiate record holder for less than a day! I already knew she would attempt a new record at her competition the following morning, and hearing about her jump brought an ocean of mixed feelings over me. At first I was frustrated. I have dreamed about this achievement for years – worked every day toward this goal that meant so much to me that I literally cried tears of happiness after I made the bar. When I heard the news, it felt like someone had reached out and stolen something that is absolutely priceless right from my grasp. After about an hour of feeling angry and frustrated, my feelings turned into motivation. I know I have a lot more potential within me, and having her there will lure it out! I am happy she jumped that bar. Why? Well, it’s sport isn’t it? What is sport without stiff competition? And having her there will push me. I won’t become complacent. I know she can jump higher, too, and I think both of us will push the other to be our very best. Demi, if you read this, CONGRATULATIONS! I wish you the very best of luck. And when we face off, know that, like you, I will want to jump higher than all of my competitors, but I will never wish ill upon you. I know you have worked hard like I have (obviously…you wouldn’t be jumping 15’ lol) and I think athletes who work hard deserve success.
Now that I got off track, back to my experience. I think my body and brain were in shock. The competition was extremely draining. I vaulted that record at around 10:30 at night because the meet schedule wasn’t very well thought-out (in my opinion) and left us vaulters jumping after the entire meet was over aside from us. I was very hungry and tired, and after I broke the record I was on cloud 9, and I probably slept around 4 hours that night. I exhausted myself from screaming and running around in excitement, hugging everyone and taking pictures, and being interviewed. The amount of support I received on social media that night was unfathomable! All of the love from Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook kept me on my phone all night, trying to respond to all of my friends, family, and (now I can say) fans! I want to respond to people as best as possible because their support keeps me on my feet. I cannot express how grateful I am to have so many people following my career, sending me messages about how they are proud of me and how they hope I make it to the Olympics, and sharing what I put out there for the world to see. That is why I keep this blog. Not only do I want to keep a record of my life as a vaulter for my own future use, but I also do it so I can share my life with everyone. I hope younger athletes read this and become motivated to follow in my footsteps. Being an elite athlete is such a fascinating life experience, I cannot imagine keeping it all to myself. So I hope you continue to read this blog and share it with friends. If you have comments or questions, feel free to tweet at me @SandiCheeks15 (that is the same tag for Instagram, too.) I will be competing in Kentucky this coming weekend along with my teammates Ariel Voskamp, Megan Zimlich, Desiree Freier, and Ariel LaChance. Keep an eye out for us Hogs! WOO PIG!
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