June 4, 2012

Monterola Heads to Drake University for NCAA Outdoor Championships

Indoor All-America pole vaulter looking to obtain Olympic qualifying mark

Keisa Monterola is looking to continue her streak of success while wearing an Eastern Washington University uniform.

Monterola, EWU’s All-America pole vaulter, is heading to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, for the NCAA Division I Track and Field Outdoor Championships. The pole vault is scheduled for Wednesday (June 6) at 3:30 p.m., Pacific Time.

In March, Monterola competed in the NCAA Indoor Championships and placed fifth with a height of 14-1 1/4. With a career-best of 14-4 (indoors), Monterola has been striving to clear a height of 14-5 1/4 and meet the Olympic Provisional qualifying standard. Her home country of Venezuela has promised her a spot on their Olympic team if she hits the mark.

Monterola’s vault coach, Eric Allison, thinks she has the experience to succeed this week.

“Keisa is such an experienced athlete that this might be just another meet to her,” said Allison. “She wants that Olympic mark, and hopefully she can get top eight again for All-America status.”

Allison might be right when it comes to experience. Not only will this be Monterola’s second NCAA championship, but she has competed and placed in the 2011 Pan American Games (fifth), 2010 Central America and Caribbean Games (first), 2009 NWAACC Championships (first) and the IAAF World Youth Games (second). She is also the reigning indoor and outdoor Big Sky Conference Champion.

With an outdoor-best mark of 14-0 hit at the 41st Annual Pelluer Invitational, Monterola sits 13th in the nation. Tina Sutej (Arkansas), who won the indoor championship, holds the nation’s best mark of 14-11. Morgann Leleux (Georgia) and Katerina Stefanidi (Stanford), who finished second and third, respectively, at the indoor championships, will also be competing this week.

“Keisa had a great experience at the indoor championships,” said Allison. “Now with us being able to be outdoors, doubled with some good weather, she could see a big improvement. I’d like to see her finish close to the top.”

The Venezuelan national record holder made her Eastern debut on Dec. 3, 2011, at the Candy Cane Invitational with a school-record effort of 13-11 1/4, breaking the previous record of 13-4 1/2 set by Sarah Hegna in 2007. Nearly two months later, Monterola broke the Big Sky Conference indoor record for the women’s pole vault in January with a career-best 14-4 at the UW Team Invitational in Seattle, Wash. The previous record was 14-1 1/4 set by Elouise Rudy of Montana State in 2008.

“She has had plenty of good days in practice preparing for this meet,” said Allison. “She looks good. Really good. Keisa is ready to jump high.”

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