By Will LeBlond
LANSING – Expectations are high this season for Lansing pole vaulter Emily Gallagher after she reached the top of her event last spring – and the senior is focused and set to do it again.
She claimed the Division II title at the New York State Outdoor Track and Field Championships some six months ago. That title is in the past, though, and Gallagher is looking to continue that success in her final year in a Bobcat uniform.
“I definitely want to keep up that work and try to win indoor this year,” said Gallagher. “And then continue into outdoor and win that season as well and keep that title.”
Gallagher is already off to a hot start this season, as she won the Ithaca Bomber Invitational, fending off 31 competitors when she cleared a jump of 11 feet, 6 inches. While she has been the one receiving all the press, she credits her support group – especially her coach Matt Scheffler – for the progress that she’s made during her career.
“I got a lot of coaching from Mr. Scheffler and he gave me a lot of different things to focus on,” said Gallagher. “We’ve been working on that a lot in practice, so when we finally got the chance to compete I was trying to do everything right and get that technique down.”
The new season has not been a quick transition back to state championship form though, as Gallagher took the fall season off before jumping into heavy training for the winter. With that, the progression has been slow but steady, and the end goal of a state title is driving the senior.
“I’ve been trying to get my fast run back up,” said Gallagher. “I haven’t gotten my run quite right yet, but it’s getting faster and faster with each week.”
In addition to working on her form to be ready to compete for another state championship, Gallagher has an additional focus this year to go along with her title dreams.
While her high school career at Lansing will be coming to a close in the spring, Gallagher plans to keep pole vaulting at the next level. While it’s not yet time for her to make a decision on which college to take her talents, she is exploring her options to find a place where she can continue to grow as a competitor and a student.
“There are a few schools that I’m looking at that have the pole vault and I’m looking to continue with it,” said Gallagher. “My top choice right now is Virginia Commonwealth because I also really love art and they have a really great art program as well as the track.”
College track and field is a different animal, especially at the Division I level, which is the class in which Virginia Commonwealth competes, but Gallagher is looking to make the 2016-17 season double as a proving ground of her abilities in the pole vault.
“I know a lot of colleges are going to be at these (high school) meets looking,” she said, “and I want to make sure that my jumps are good and they can see that I have the technique to keep it up and that I will be able to do that in college.”