Emmert leaps into record books
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When senior pole vaulter McKenna Emmert set foot upon CWU four years ago, she didn’t know what to expect. Now coming into her final outdoor season, her entire life is figured out.
Before CWU, Emmert was a pole vaulter for four years at Kelso High School. Emmert said she began pole vaulting after a soccer teammate suggested it.
Emmert had a successful high school career.
“High school track was really great. I was really good at hurdles in high school, so I have a couple hurdle records there,” Emmert said. “Pole vaulting was great, we had a really good program, I had [a] great coach. My sophomore year I went, and got third, my junior year I went, and got third, and then my senior year I got eighth.”
At the state championship during her senior year, they skipped the next height that they had to jump, which led to Emmert being a little thrown off, Emmert said.
Competing at the NCAA indoor championships was huge for her. Emmert broke the CWU pole vault record with a jump of 12 feet 10.25 inches, where she also finished the competition in fourth place overall.
“Nationals was awesome. I’ve never experienced anything like that. I didn’t have high expectations, which doesn’t mean that I didn’t expect to do well, I just didn’t have a lot of pressure on me,” Emmert said. “It was really nice to go there, and have fun. It was funny when I cleared my third height clean on the first jump again. I was more excited about being my first height because I don’t normally do that. It was great, it was an awesome experience, I’ll never forget it.”
Emmert was initially recruited by Western Washington University and West Point University; however, things didn’t workout with those schools. Having previously attended CWU, her mother recommended that Emmert look into the school. Emmert visited CWU and spoke with the coach, Emmert said.
Emmert has enjoyed being a Wildcat.
“It’s definitely been the greatest four years of my life. I met my fiancée, I’ve got to meet all the great pole vaulters, and I have friends that I’ll never forget, and I got to obviously get way better at pole vaulting. ” Emmert said. “My education’s been great, I mean I’m going on to grad school after this. Four years I’ll never forget.”
Emmert has a few more meets left in her collegiate career, and some goals going forward.
“I actually just found out if you make 13 [feet] seven [inches], you can get paid by USATF to continue to jump. So, really hoping to make 13 [feet], seven [inches] by the end of the year. I’m moving to Michigan, and I would love to try and keep jumping,” Emmert said. “Not to put pressure on myself, but I would really like to get a national title. But I’d have to make like over 14 feet right now.”
Emmert is happy about having the record in pole vault, but said she will attempt to break it again and again.
Emmert is motivated by her passion for the sport.
“Challenging yourself every day, and continuing to better yourself every day is a big part of not like sports but life. Keeping yourself motivated, I don’t know, I don’t really have a reason. I just love what I do,” Emmert said.
Getting to NCAA Indoor championship has been a motivational factor for the outdoor season.
“I want to compete at the high caliber level again because that was something I just don’t experience as much, and I loved it, it was a lot more challenging, lot more motivating for me to do better,” Emmert said
Emmert has had an impact on those around her.
“She’s been honestly an amazing one, just someone who really pushes you, and someone who holds you accountable. That’s a big thing that she believes in,” Senior jumper D’Andre Daniels said. “She’s my best friend, I came to this school not really knowing a lot of people. She was someone who came to me and basically took me under her wing, and helped me develop to the best athlete that I can be.”
Emmert and Daniels motivate one another each meet to do well.
“120 percent, whenever she does good, I do good. Whenever I do good, she does good. We just vibe off of each other, and make sure we both are going 100 percent at all times,” Daniels said.
Jumps coach Tony Monroe echoed a little bit about Emmert’s goals going forward.
“Her goal is realistic, and that’s to get back to nationals again,” Monroe said. “This will of course be her last season competing outdoors, and to get back to nationals, and to become All-American again is obviously a goal. If we can get in the top three, that would be ideal.”
Emmert’s next goal is to hit 13 feet, and depending on the conditions outdoors, it is something that she can capture, Monroe said.
Emmert does not say a whole lot, but she does impact others with her voice.
“It’s interesting because when she first came in, her stature, she’s pretty small. She’s very fit, and as the years have gone by, it’s great to see her mature, and now take on a leadership role,” Monroe said. “She’s kind of the last one to say anything, but if she does, people listen to her because when she gets to the point where she’s talking about something, people know it’s serious. Whether it’s encouraging other athletes, or holding somebody to a higher standard in the weight room or at practice sessions. She’s really good about that, I love her leadership.”