Josie Spitz will be taking her pole vault talents to Sioux Falls, South Dakota, next fall. Contributed photo.
Josie Spitz's Best Marks:
Pole Vault: 11-3
3200 Meters: 12:26.52 (at altitude)
5K Cross Country: 20:36 (at altitude)
Why don't you start by telling us a little about the decision for the University of Sioux Falls. What pulled you there over and above any other choices you had?
What pulled me to the university the most was their amazing vault program and dedicated athletes. Most schools only have about 4 or 5 vaulters, total, where USF has about 10 or more. Getting to experience how much of a family they were really made me feel welcome and excited. Everyone there was super humble and helpful that it just felt like the right decision.
What do you plan to study at USF?
I plan on looking into Exercise Science and seeing where my interests take me from there.
Over the course of your high school career, you dabbled in several events. What made pole vault stick?
I really loved how different the pole vault was and with my gymnastics background it was very familiar and comfortable. The other events were fun and a good experience, but none of them compared to getting the opportunity to fly.
Was it difficult to let cross country go this fall?
Yes, because I had made such great friends and loved my coaches, but I knew that it would slow down the progress I had made over the spring/summer with pole vault. Since I didn't do distance in track last spring, I found out what my new passion was and started to move away from running.
How many months of the year do you work on pole vault now?
We train year round. When the weather is good we get the chance to go outside at Above the Bar and when the cold months come we get to train at college facilities on the weekends. We also have many meet opportunities which help prepare you really well for high school season!
Thinking back on your entire high school career, if you had to pick one moment as the highlight, what would that moment be?
My moment would be last year at state competing with all my friends from Above the Bar. It was a real competitive meet, but was so much fun when you get to be beside your encouraging teammates. I had a bit of a rough patch in the middle of the season which caused me to no height at the last meet before state. I was nervous, but I tried not to let it get to me because I had a lot of good practices under my belt.
I had to keep moving up poles that day and, with a lot of adrenaline and third attempts, I really put my trust into my coaches. Fortunately, everything they had told me that day worked out great. I was waiting for my third attempt at what would be a new PR at 11-3 and watched my friend, Izze [Calabrese] from Battle Mountain, soar over it. With a lot of confidence, I was lucky enough to do the same. I watched the bar wiggle and thankfully stay on. I threw my hands over my head in disbelief and ran to my coaches to give them big hugs. Izze and I celebrated as we tied at the end of the competition. I ended up placing fifth and stood with my fellow vaulters on the podium holding hands with smiles on all of our faces.