Mallory Majcher, Texas Media Relations
Last Friday at the UH Leonard Hilton Memorial Invitational in Houston, sophomore Kaitlin Petrillose placed first in pole vault, setting new school and meet records by clearing a height of 13-9.25 (4.20m).
Petrillose entered the meet with a goal to break her own personal record of 14-1.25, a career best that was set in February of 2012. With the new record, she feels honored to be added to the list of elite Texas athletes.
“I had no idea that I even broke a record,” said Petrillose. “It feels amazing to have such an accomplishment at such an incredible school.”
After one year at the University of South Dakota, Petrillose returned to her hometown of Round Rock to continue her pole vaulting career as a Longhorn. She felt that Texas would be a perfect fit for her both in academics in athletics.
“I really wanted to be back because Texas is where I belong,” said Petrillose. “I really wanted to be back with my family and friends.”
After leaving the sport of gymnastics in ninth grade, Petrillose took up cross country at McNeil High School. It was through her experiences as a runner that pole vault was brought to her attention. Although her path led her in a different direction than her first love of gymnastics, Petrillose will always be a gymnast at heart and draws parallels with her attraction to pole vault.
“I hated when I had to quit gymnastics,” said Petrillose, “but I feel that pole vaulting has a lot of similarities with gymnastics, and that is why I love it so much.”
With a first-place performance and a school record under her belt, Petrillose is still training hard to meet and exceed her other personal goals. By the end of the season, she hopes to qualify for the both the indoor and outdoor NCAA Championship meets, and more specifically, she is determined to clear 14-6.00.
Petrillose’s aspirations do not stop there. In 2016, she hopes to pole vault in the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
“I qualified for the 2012 Olympic time trials, but unfortunately I could not go,” said Petrillose. “Rio is definitely a huge goal for me.”
Petrillose points to incredible support from her family, friends and teammates as a huge factor to all of her success. She also finds strong support in her training partner and teammate, senior Natasha Masterson.
“I have the best training partner in Natasha,” said Petrillose. “We really push each other’s limits and it helps my preparation and competition all the time.”
During the off-season, Petrillose enjoys sharing her love of gymnastics as a coach. While she normally coaches children in the Pflugerville area, she has also had experience coaching high-level gymnastics at the Bela Karolyi gymnastics camp in Houston, Texas.
Petrillose will make her next appearance at the Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. this weekend.