The Rocket

SRU pole vaulters return to indoor National Championships

Aaron Marrie, Junior Rocket Contributor

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Redshirt Senior Courtney McQuaide and junior Maddy Marshall have continued their pole vaulting excellent and both were invited to compete at the NCAA Division II Indoor National Championships. This is the third straight year the women are competing in the indoor championships and as McQuaide closes out her indoor career both women feel the emotions rising.

“Going into this last indoor national for me is pretty emotional,” McQuaide began. “I don’t really expect anything much different, I really would like to go in and end with PR [personal record] for my indoor season and if that happens then that’s great.”

McQuaide and Marshall were able to qualify for the national meet to start off the season at the Youngstown State Icebreaker. McQuaide won with a 3.87 meter clearance. Marshall finished right behind her with a 3.72 meter clearance. After that event, never failed to hit the qualifying mark, as Marshall just missing the mark in one meet.

“I believed they’re peaked to jump really well, they’ve shown over the last couple of weeks that they are just getting better and better,” assistant coach Bill Jordan said. “Their form’s improving greatly and physically they are definitely ready to go.”

Both of the women used that peak at the Pennsylvania State Athlete Conference (PSAC) Championships to improve the season marks to help push them higher on the national list. McQuaide won her second straight indoor title and recorded a 3.95 meter clearance, which was a near lock placing her eighth Division II with that mark. Marshall recorded a 3.85 meter clearance with her second place finish with placed her 20th in Division II as she just made the cut for the national championship.

“It was mental, a lot of it was. I didn’t get on to my bigger set of poles until later in the year when normally I get on them earlier in the year,” Marshall began. “Once I got over that, it was just finding the timing of the new poles.”

This will be McQuade’s sixth trip to the National Championships, third for indoor, as she’s also made it three times during the outdoor season, including in last year’s outdoor nationals. Marshall will be competing in her fifth National Championship, also her third for indoor, as she’s also qualified for outdoors twice.

McQuaide and Marshall also look to become All-American. McQuaide was a two-time first team All-American last year when she took fifth place in indoor nationals and won the outdoor title. Marshall fell short of All-American in indoor as she placed 12th but she placed seventh at last year’s outdoors. This earned the women their career first All-American awards, but Marshall is looking to add one for indoor.

“I’m looking forward to having all the experience under my belt and being able to use to hopefully become an All-American again,” Marshall said.

Looking ahead, as the indoor season wraps up this weekend at the National Championships, both women look to use the as an energizer for the outdoor season.

“Absolutely, I always look forward to indoor nationals, mostly because it’s a really good preview for outdoor nationals. It’s mostly just the same competition,” Marshall said.

With this being the end of McQuaide’s indoor career, her and Marshall have created a bond, which adds to the emotion of this weekend’s meet.

“It will be pretty emotional, going to the meet with her one last time,” McQuaide said.

She added that it helps her knowing Marshall still has one more indoor season.

“We definitely push each other to be better, so a lot of times we’ll go back and forth, she’ll do better one meet, I’ll do better one meet,” Marshall said. “It’s not like an enemies type of thing, we are both pretty good friends.”

The women will travel to Pittsburg State University for the March 8 and 9 for the National Championship meet in Pittsburg, Kan. The pole vault nationals are set to start on Saturday at 6 p.m.

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SRU pole vaulters return to indoor National Championships