Colleen Schmitt: CIF pole vaulting champ!


Senior Colleen Schmitt takes the top spot in the CIF D-4 pole vaulting championship. (Photo Credit: Mr. Schmitt)

Ms. Barclay, Adviser

This past Saturday, senior Colleen Schmitt won the D-4 CIF Southern Section pole vaulting championship. With a personal record of 11 feet on the winning vault, Colleen bested her closest two competitors from St. Lucy’s and Carpenteria high schools.

Colleen talks with Coach Magullah before her victory is certified. (Photo Provided by Coach Magullah)

Even though she has been pole vaulting since her freshman year, Colleen was not expecting to take first place. This speaks to her humility more than her skillset, however. Colleen shared, “I never like to go into a competition expecting much. For CIF, I knew I was seeded 2nd, but not imagining winning takes the pressure off. Then if I do win, it’s even more exciting.”

Colleen is a former gymnast who entered the pole vaulting world when a former gymnast teammate and fellow Royal, Gabriella Cardenas ’22, encouraged her to check out the sport. Colleen immediately liked the sport’s consistency, adding that pole vault “allows you to get input from coaches, see what you’re doing right or wrong in real time, and use the information to make changes quickly.”

The sport’s individual element also appeals to Colleen, who appreciates pole vaulting’s unique mental challenge and physical difficulty: “You can’t be too in your head about it or you’re not going to do well, and it’s hard on your body. It’s hard on everything–your arms, your back, etc. I definitely had back problems for a while because landing on the mat is tough, but each vault is still an exciting mental and physical battle.”

Despite the individual element of the pole vaulting event, Colleen shared that the sport itself actually boasts a rare community feel among the athletes competing for all schools: “The pole vault community is different. All of the girls, no matter their school, are cheering for each other. If you do well, everyone celebrates.” This gracious, encouraging atmosphere works well for a genuine team player like Colleen, and she quickly learned to embrace the joy in her event.

This season, the entire track team took first in the Trinity League, an accomplishment Rosary has not seen in years.  Colleen credits her contribution to her pole vaulting coach. She praised Coach Magula for helping her advance her skills and adding to the team’s fun environment. She also thanked athletic director Mr. Tice for bringing Coach Magula into the program. Coach Tice shared about Colleen’s success: “Colleen’s dad contributed barbecue cooking to many teams this school year; Colleen’s success is karma for his good deeds!” But jokes aside, Mr. Tice had nothing but praise for Colleen’s achievement in pole vaulting: “Having a CIF champ is great for our school and the program. We are extremely proud of her.”

Colleen credits Coach Magullah with helping her reach her personal best. (Photo Provided by Coach Magullah)

Colleen will continue her academics at the University of Nebraska in the fall, but is unsure whether she will continue pole vaulting.

I’ve personally had the pleasure to teach Colleen not once, but FOUR TIMES during her high school career (English I, Journalism twice, English IV), and I can honestly say that she is one of the coolest, nicest, and most easygoing Royals I’ve ever taught. Knowing she was in my English IV class this year was a real highlight. I love her funny, positive attitude, her honesty, and her stellar participation. She is beloved by her classmates and she has always brightened my day. I feel more comfortable when she is in the classroom, and I am so happy she has been recognized for her stellar athleticism. It’s exciting to think about what awaits her in college.