Feb. 28, 2012
NOTRE DAME, Ind. - In turning in a personal-best vault of 4.62m at the U.S. Indoor Track and Field Championships on Saturday in Albuquerque, N.M., 2009 Notre Dame alum and All-American pole vaulter Mary Saxer has earned a spot at next month's IAAF World Indoor Championships in Istanbul, Turkey.
Saxer placed second out of 11 vaulters after clearing 4.62m (15-1 ¾ ft) on her second to last vault. The height was a personal best, and qualified her for the elite meet that will be held from March 9-11.
"There were four women at the meet that have been vaulting all around the same height," said Saxer. "So I knew it would be sort of a chess match. When I was able to clear 4.62m, I was hoping that would be enough to get in the top two, but I wasn't quite sure.
My coach and I decided to go big or go home. I used a new, longer pole for the first time and I was so excited when I set a personal best and punched my ticket to the world championships all at the same time."
Saxer will now have a quick turnaround as she leaves for Turkey this weekend.
"I'm excited to see how high I can go," said Saxer. "If I set a new personal best the first time I used the longer pole, I think another personal best is doable now that I'm more comfortable with it. I'll go over there and perform at my best and see where that places me."
Following her business trip to Turkey, Saxer will return to the U.S. to train for the Olympic Trials that will be held at the University of Oregon in June.
"The world championships are perfect preparation for getting ready for the Olympic Trials," said Saxer. "I will be competing against the top women's pole vaulters in the world in Turkey instead of just comparing heights on paper. It will be really nice to be in the same competition as them and see where I stack up."