Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local Sports

May 15, 2014

McIntyre vaults to WKU

WESTWOOD — When former track and field coach Becca Chaney first sprung the idea of pole vaulting on her in fifth grade, Morgan McIntyre accepted the challenge.

“I was terrible,” she admitted with a laugh.

Three years later, she was a state champion.

Come next Saturday, she could be the best girls pole vaulter the state’s ever seen at the high school level.

It’s been quite a ride for McIntyre, and the climb is far from over. The four-time Class A champion signed a National Letter of Intent with Western Kentucky University on Thursday at the Fairview High School library.

McIntyre will go for her fifth state title next Saturday in Lexington. She’ll also attempt to clear 11 feet, 9 inches — her personal record and the current top mark in the Kentucky High School Athletic Association record book for any class.

Actually, she wants to do at least a fourth of an inch better, which would give her sole possession of the record.

On Thursday, though, her focus was on celebrating another achievement, which was landing a spot on a Division I program as a pole vaulter.

McIntyre said WKU was love at first sight.

“I took a visit over Christmas break and I really felt like Western felt like home,” McIntyre said. “I wanted to make sure I liked it academically before I even considered going there for athletics, and I did. I just felt comfortable there.”

McIntyre will study to become a nurse while competing for the successful Lady Toppers. WKU is ranked No. 23 in the latest U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll after it claimed its seventh Sun Belt Conference crown in the last nine years.

Current WKU vaulter, junior Karleigh Parker, just recently flew 13 feet.

McIntyre, who has improved her P.R. by a foot and two inches within a calendar year, is already setting goals to reach similar heights.

“I just want to go there and hopefully get better, not just settle in,” McIntyre said. “I want to progress each year.”

A Fairview student all the way through her schooling, the senior also looked at Centre, Transylvania and Bellarmine before deciding on WKU.

Said first-year Eagles track and field coach Tim Champlin of McIntyre: “It’s been an unbelievable experience to see someone who works as hard as she does and to see someone that is as dedicated as she is to the sport.”

McIntyre called WKU head coach Erik Jenkins and vertical jumps/combined events coach Jarrett Murphy “very friendly.

“I felt like they were really excited for me to come,” she said.

AARON SNYDER can be reached at asnyder@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2664.

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