Since the start of her vaulting career, Riebold has kept a list of goals that she reads over before practice, after practice, before meets and after meets.
“I take a lot of time to set my goals, and make sure I can accomplish them,” Riebold said. “I started my list of goals when I started to pole vault.”
Her most recent accomplishment came at the NCAA indoor championships in track and field, and Riebold was able to cross it off her list.
The red-shirt junior cleared the bar at a height of 14-feet, 7.25-inches, a height that was 7.25-inches taller than her previous career-high.
She took second place in the competition after reaching that new height.
In the months leading up to indoor nationals, Riebold was ranked seventh in the nation among female collegiate pole vaulters, having only cleared 14 feet once during the indoor season.
Riebold said she never pays attention to other athletes in competitions, though she always sets high goals for herself. Even after taking second at the indoor championships, Riebold said she pays no attention to her rankings.
Her ranking does not pressure her to do any better. Riebold explained that her competitor’s do not cloud her mind when she is competing.
Riebold said during that meet, she was just as nervous as her first competition, but the insecurities running through her mind have never impacted her performance — at least not in a negative way.
“I’m always nervous, but I channel those nerves. I use them to my advantage,” Riebold said.
While she has moved up in rankings — her current mark would rank her as No. 2 in the nation — Riebold said she is not content with second best.
“Coach Ellis and I wanted to win it,” Riebold said.
At the meet, junior pole vaulter Natalia Bartnovskaya from the University of Kansas cleared the same height as Riebold. Essentially, they were both tied. However, Bartnovskaya was able to get over the bar with fewer attempts.
With the start of the outdoor season, the rankings have been changed once more, and Riebold has to climb her way to the top once more.
She is currently tied for 10th in the nation among collegiate pole vaulters, but the mark that earned her that ranking is from last spring’s outdoor season, when she was just starting to crack 14 feet.
On the practice field, Riebold often overworks herself — running more sprints, lifting longer — to the point where her coach has to hold her back, before she injures herself.
“I do get told, often, not to do so much,” Riebold said.
Riebold tries to be the best that she can be, and hates losing, she said.
Her new goal is to clear a height of 15-feet, 2-inches.
That height, she explained, would make her the top pole vaulter among collegiate athletes.
Riebold has researched the world’s top athletes because she wants to be at their level.
She is working toward competing at this summer’s track and field world championships in Russia.
While finishing up school is important to her, Riebold said she wants to have a professional career as an athlete before settling into a professional job.
Her dream is to compete on the international circuit.
“It’s a goal I always wake up with,” Riebold said.
For her, becoming a professional athlete is not a lofty goal.
“Getting a college degree is important, but I want to finish my athletic career before I start on something else,” Riebold said.