Emily Grove, a pole vaulter at the University of South Dakota, got to vault at the Olympic Trials in Eugene, Oregon this summer!
She advanced past the first two stages at 14 feet five inches and at 14 feet nine inches. In the finals, she fell short of qualifying for the Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro by missing all three of her jumps at 15 feet and one inch.
Even though Grove didn’t make that bar that would have sent her to Rio, she said this past season jumping at the Olympic Trials and at USD was a success.
“I think every pole vaulter always wants a little bit more than what they do because I would have wanted to jump that last bar. It was still a super great experience, but I know next year I will be able to get that bar,” Grove said. “Our number one goal this year was to stay healthy and we did that. I hadn’t been healthy in three seasons so it was really cool to be back and competing indoor and outdoor with USD.”
Grove holds the title of 2016 Summit League Indoor & Outdoor Field Athlete of the Year and this past May, she broke the outdoor championship meet record. She holds 5 All-America Awards, making her one of the most decorated Coyotes at the NCAA Division I level.
The last few seasons haven’t been easy for Grove, as she’s dealt with injuries, but the support she’s had along the way has helped her immensely.
“It was a tough road not being able to do anything, watching everyone else jump. But my teammates and Coach Derek Miles were fantastic, supporting me the entire time. ” Grove said.
Grove started pole vaulting in eighth grade. To get to the Olympic Trials, Grove qualified in February at Iowa State when she hit the standard, 14 feet and nine inches. She hopes to be back at the Olympic Trials in four years in 2020, and in order to do so, she will have to hit the 14 feet and nine inch standard again.
If you want to be a pole vaulter like Grove, she advises, “Be a hard worker and have fun while you are vaulting.”
“Work hard, then you don’t have any doubt about if, like what if couldn’t have done this. Like, okay yep I did everything I could and that’s setting me up for the best experience I can have and just enjoy what you are doing because that is when you are going to best most successful when you enjoy what you are doing.”
That’s good business and life advice, too.
by Sam Tastad
Sam Tastad is a graduate of the University of Sioux Falls with a degree in Media
Studies. He enjoys watching sports and doing anything in the great outdoors.