Going to Great Heights: Senior Kaitlin Lindstrom Dominates in Pole Vault

Alana Textor

Zoey Pudenz, Co Editor-In-Chief

From the gymnastics bar to the pole, senior Kaitlin Lindstrom has continued to break records in pole vault since freshman year. 

“I had a friend in middle school whose dad is the high school pole vault coach,” Lindstrom said. “When he found out that I did gymnastics, he encouraged me to try out for pole vault once I got into high school so I did that.”

Though both pole vault and gymnastics are mental sports, Lindstrom said that the muscles used for both are very different.

“Almost all of it is extremely mental, especially when it comes to pole vault,” Lindstrom said. “A lot of the strength that I had from gymnastics transformed into my strength for pole vault, but I had to learn how to run. The way you run in gymnastics is extremely different from the way you run in pole vault, and I tried to learn how to use all of my muscles at once rather than specific muscles.”

According to Lindstrom, she feels that she is still learning pole vault and will continue to learn it throughout her college career.

“Even now I’m still actually learning the pole vault,” Lindstrom said. “I don’t know everything and even the world record holders are still learning pole vault, you can’t really master it. I really started to learn most of it my sophomore year right before quarantine happened.”

Almost all of it is extremely mental, especially when it comes to pole vault

— Kaitlin Lindstrom

In 2020, Lindstrom joined her competitive pole vault team “Xtreme Athletics.” Here, Lindstrom has had the opportunity to travel to Texas and Nevada. 

“In January I traveled to Reno, Nevada,” Lindstrom said. “They had the National Summit which is the biggest pole vault competition. Even people from out of state go, people from other countries go. That was a really fun experience to get to go there because you got to train with olympic athletes and learn how they deal with pole vault.”

Lindstrom has not only been successful on her competitive pole vault team, but on the school team as well. Her junior year she broke the previous school record by two feet jumping 11’02”.

“It’s been a privilege to work with her, she is a super hard worker,” said pole vault coach Robert Lockwood. “She actually goes out and researches ways to get better at the vault. Not only has she been vaulting this year but she has been coaching those vaulting this year.”

Sophomore pole vaulter Maddox Joy also believes that Lindstrom has been a great role model for him.

“It has been really great to be teammates alongside Kaiti,” Joy said. “She’s been more of like a coach to me rather than a teammate. She’s helped me along the way and I would not be here today with pole vault without her.”

Lindstrom has committed to Fort Hays State University to continue her pole vault career.

“I really like smaller schools and I really like a tight knit community,” Lindstrom said. “I absolutely loved the pole vault coach and he is the mix between all three of my coaches. When I met all of the Fort Hays pole vaulters, saw how close they were and how they hangout outside of practice and they’re all best friends, it just felt like a place that I really wanted to be at.”