Venezuelan pole vaulter making an early impression on Eastern and the Big Sky
Keisa Monterola sure knows how to make her first and second impressions.
Monterola, a junior transfer from Clackamas Community College, was named the Big Sky Conference women’s Field Athlete of the Week. She has been eligible to receive the award twice this season, taking home the honor each time.
The Venezuelan native won the pole vault at the UW Indoor Preview last Saturday (Jan. 14) with a vault of 13-7 3/4. Her season best, 13-11 1/4 at the Candy Cane Invitational, is currently tied for second best in the nation with Stanford’s Katerina Stefanidi. Stefanidi was also at the UW Preview, but received an NH (no height). Arkansas’ Tina Sutej leads the nation with an effort of 14-3 1/4.
Monterola will be back in action with Eastern’s men’s and women’s track and field teams at the UW Team Invitational, Jan. 27-28, in Seattle, Wash.
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Monterola made her Eastern debut on Dec. 3 at the Candy Cane Invitational. On her first jump, she broke Eastern’s pole vault record with a height of 13-11 1/4. She attempted 14-3, which would have set a new Big Sky record, but just barely missed the mark. Coaches expect her to break the conference record by the end of the season. The current Big Sky record is held by Elouise Rudy of Montana State, who posted a 14-1 1/4 height in 2003.
Monterola is also the owner of the Venezuelan national record. She has competed for her country on numerous occasions, including the Pan American Games this past fall. She placed fifth with a mark of 14-1 1/4, which is equivalent to the Big Sky conference record.
Originally from Caracas, Venezuela, Monterola placed first in the pole vault at the Northwest Athletic Association of Community Colleges (NWAACC) Championships while competing for Clackamas Community College. She had a personal-best vault of 14-2 1/2 – a mark that improved the sophomore’s Venezuelan national record. She also placed first in the long jump with a mark of 18-0 1/2.
Monterola also claimed titles at the 2009 NWAACC Championships in the pole vault (12-8 1/4) and the long jump (17-8 1/4). While utilizing her redshirt season in 2010, Monterola won the gold medal at the Central American and Caribbean Games, where she set the games record with a mark of 13-9 1/4. In high school, Monterola was the 2005 IAAF World Youth silver medalist and South American Junior Champion. She cleared 13-11 1/4 in both competitions, setting new meet records in both.