NOTRE DAME, Ind. – “It’s the best feeling when you clear the bar,” said pole vaulter Mary Saxer, and she hopes to now clear the list for 2012 Olympic Team.
Saxer is competing in the upcoming Olympic Trials at the end of June.
“To be a member of that Olympic team is going to be so amazing because it’s the best track team in the world,” she said.
Saxer graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2009. She said she couldn’t think of a better place to stay and train.
“I was like well, what better place than to continue training where I’ve already had success,” said Saxer.
She grew up in New York and her path to the Olympics didn’t start with pole vaulting.
Saxer started out in high school as a long jumper and was a state champion her junior and senior year.
It wasn’t until she was attending a long jump camp that she even considered pole vaulting.
“I was at a long jump camp between my sophomore and junior year of high school and they were like ‘hey did you ever think of pole vaulting?’” remembered Saxer. “It hadn’t even crossed my mind.”
She said she quickly picked it up and attributes a lot of her quick success to her high school coach teacher her the “right” way and correct technique of pole vaulting.
At Notre Dame she broke many records and was a three-time Big East Conference Pole Vault Champion.
Luck seems to be on Saxer’s side in 2012.
She made the World Team and also had her highest jump to date. “My PR is 4 meters 62 which is just under 15’’ 2’,” said Saxer.
Her coach in South Bend is Danny Wilkerson. He said that “historically” women medal at the Olympics with a minimum of three inches higher than Saxer’s highest.
“Any height between 4.70 and 4.80 (meters) which is about 15’ 5’’ to 15’ 9’’ traditionally has medaled,” said Wilkerson.
But he said she’s competed against the top in the world already, and she just needs to treat the trials the same way.
“It’s just another meet for us, the less you can focus on the importance of the meet probably the better off you are,” said Wilkerson.
Saxer said she had a small of sample of what it would be a part of Team USA at the Olympics and hopes to make the cut.
“I got to be a part of representing the USA and wearing USA across my chest and I feel like it was a good warm-up to what will hopefully be happening in a couple weeks for me,” said Saxer.
Saxer will compete in Eugene, Oregon, for the Olympic Trials starting on June 22nd.
By Emily Pritchard