WALKER -- When she started pole vaulting, Walker’s Evyn Fitzgerald wasn’t sure where it would take her.
Now she knows, as she recently signed with Mount St. Mary’s University to continue her academic and athletic career.
“When I start something, I always aim to continue it on for as long as I can,” Fitzgerald said. “Whether I thought it was going to happen, I’m not really sure just because as a beginner, you always just aren’t really good at it at first, so I never knew if it was going to happen or not, of course. But that was the goal from the start. I never really just do something to just half do it, I guess.”
Fitzgerald started running track when she was a student at South Walker Elementary and continued into junior high. After watching a friend pole vault at a high school meet, she decided to follow in her footsteps.
“It looked fun,” she said. “It looked thrilling, like something I’d be interested in doing, so I asked the coach if I could try it at the next practice. He said, ‘Yeah. Let’s see what you’ve got,’ and it just blossomed from there.”
Fitzgerald, who finished fourth in the pole vault at the state meet (10-11.5), was contacted by Mount St. Mary’s via her Next College Student Athlete account and went on a general tour of the campus, which is located in Emmitsburg, Maryland.
“It wasn’t a difficult decision after we visited,” she said. “I decided to commit to the school before I got home from the college trip. I remember sitting my hotel room and (I) called the coach and told him that I wanted to commit, send the papers over.”
“I’m not worried about the distance from home,” Fitzgerald continued. “I’m kind of worried about the climate change. I enjoy the Louisiana weather. I like it being hot, so I guess it will be a climate shock, but hopefully I’ll get used to it. Hopefully it’s not horrible.”
Fitzgerald said she’s hoping to find a comfort zone of sorts because the school has some of the same brands of equipment she’s currently using.
“It kind of worked out that we’re kind of on the same page and we wouldn’t really have to change anything once I got up there, so that was another great thing that I wouldn’t have to worry about because a lot of schools might not have (as many) options facility-wise or pole-wise or anything like that to use. That was kind of a stress just saying, ‘Oh, well I might have to change everything that I’ve kind of been working on’, trying to us a different brand pole because they are made differently so it effects differently. That was just kind of a stress that I didn’t have to worry about now.”
She said it’s still sinking in that she’ll be pole vaulting on the college level.
“Whether I thought I was going to (pole vault in college), I guess I just hoped I was,” she said. “I didn’t really want to set the expectation and then be super disappointed and lost if it didn’t happen. I didn’t put all my eggs in one basket, I guess is a good way to say it. I had other things I was kind of leaning on too to where if it didn’t I wouldn’t be completely lost.”