Morgan McIntyre labors to imagine a life without pole-vaulting.
For now, she doesn’t have to, and she’s relishing every remaining moment.
The Fairview graduate launched a personal-record 4.17 meters (13 feet, 8 inches) in the Hilltopper Relays on Western Kentucky’s Senior Day last weekend. She now owns sole possession of second place in the WKU pole-vaulting record books. Her goal is to ascend to No. 1, which is mind-boggling for her upon considering her starting point in Bowling Green.
“When I came to college, I was not confident in any of my performances,” McIntyre said earlier this week. “I had just turned 18, and these girls who had been there for four years were jumping super high. As the years have gone, I’ve become more confident and more comfortable.
“I never really thought 14 feet was realistic, and I never thought I’d have a goal like that, but I want to clear 14 feet and go to Nationals,” McIntyre said.
The WKU senior executed what she deemed a “really good attempt” at 4.27 meters (14 feet) last weekend. The school’s top mark is 4.23.
“I barely knocked it off. I watched the video once. I don’t want to watch it anymore; it makes me mad,” she said with a chuckle.
McIntyre’s latest jump lifted her out of a recent funk. A string of bad-weather events hadn’t helped matters.
“At Florida, it rained. At Vanderbilt, it rained. We haven’t had great weather, and that used to be a big thing for me — checking weather — but I’ve gotten mentally stronger,” said McIntyre, who called her sport 75-percent mental.
McIntyre’s performance also landed her into the NCAA Division I East Preliminary Round, which is scheduled for late May in Tampa. She’s currently ranked top 10 in the East. Motivating her is a subpar finish in last year’s Prelims.
“It was terrible,” she said.
McIntyre is preparing for this weekend’s meet at Austin Peay. The Conference USA championships are slated for the second weekend of May at Rice University in Houston.
One constant she can count on is family support. Scott and Penni, her parents, and Mason, her younger brother, were in attendance for Senior Day.
“My family already has places booked in Clarksville (Tennessee), Houston, Tampa,” she listed future destinations.
Upon this season’s conclusion, McIntyre, who sports an overall 3.7 grade-point average, will struggle to cast aside the pole, said the three-time (two indoor, one outdoor) C-USA champion.
“I’ve been thinking about it a lot. It’s not like I can just be like, hey, I can go pole-vault,” she said. “It’s weird that I’m probably going to be done jumping.”
McIntyre plans to enroll in graduate school at the University of Louisville for speech pathology after receiving her degree from WKU.
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