The Wolverine

February 2013

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 139 of 158

  olympic sports profile Kiley Tobel Provides Boost For Michigan Pole Vaulting Individual achievement is paramount in the sport of track and field, but the ability to succeed within a team atmosphere is just as important to overall success on the collegiate level. Redshirt junior pole vault specialist Kiley Tobel has spent time on the bottom, middle and top of the proverbial totem pole in Ann Arbor, and has weathered many a storm on her way to capturing All-America honors a year ago. But it almost didn't happen. A walk-on as a freshman, the former Walled Lake Western (Mich.) High standout was delegated as a redshirt performer in her initial year on campus — a not so unexpected role that can still wreak havoc on the psyche of a young athlete. "When I came in, I wasn't really where I needed to be to compete on the collegiate level," Tobel said. "I received the opportunity of walking on, and while I did improve my freshman year, I just didn't really see myself getting what I wanted from this opportunity, and I considered not coming back. "It had nothing to do with the team, it was mostly me questioning if I had the capability of getting better or if I was wasting my time." Fortunately for the Michigan track and field program, volunteer Shean Conlon accepted an unpaid coaching position, and then subsequently turned around Tobel's collegiate career. Tobel, a former walk-on, earned first-team indoor and second-team outdoor All-America accolades as a redshirt sophomore in 2011‑12. photo courtesy michigan athletic media relations Not only did Tobel return to the team, but she gained nearly a foot of height on her vaults as a redshirt freshman under Conlon's tutelage, clearing 3.85 meters at the national preliminaries to earn a spot in the NCAA Championships. Ultimately, she finished 18th with a height of 3.90. Making it to the grandest stage the Division I level has to offer proved to be an immense motivating factor for Tobel. "That was a huge year for me," she explained. "I made a lot of progress throughout the season, but I specifi-

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - February 2013