The Wolverine

February 2013

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 140 of 158

  olympic sports profile cally remember being at outdoor nationals. I was one of the last seeds in — I barely made it. Now, all of the sudden I am competing with girls that went to the Olympics. "It truly was an eye-opening experience for me, and it was then that I decided I really, really wanted to take this sport seriously and get better. I refocused and just worked all summer; I put in hour after hour. I wanted to get better and wanted to be competitive at a different level." After a strenuous offseason of nonstop training, Tobel displayed the capabilities of doing just that, setting school records in both indoor (4.23 meters) and outdoor (4.24 meters) pole vault competition. In doing so, she earned first-team indoor and second-team outdoor All-America honors, as well as second-team AllBig Ten honors in both seasons. "She has been absolutely exceptional," Conlon said. "It is just so rare to see someone make this type of progression at this level. "Kiley is a high-energy individual with a very strong will, and that is what gives her the competitiveness and the drive to train every day really hard. Pole vaulting truly is her passion." It was a passion for the sport that was reinvigorated in part by Conlon. The two immediately found themselves on the same page, a notion made evident by U-M track and field's now rewritten record book. "As soon as Coach Conlon came on, he had a goal, a vision and a plan to get me to where I wanted to be," Tobel said. "The whole game changed for me when he arrived, because all of the sudden I regained that passion and realized that what I was doing was going to help me to contribute to the team. I started to really love pole vaulting once again. "I think it was exactly what she needed because she was in this rut," Conlon added. "She needed a new outlook on competing and training, and ever since we started working together everything has clicked. She has taken to my training incredibly well and it inspires me to work even harder when I see how well she is doing." Although she possesses aspirations of competing at the international level in the future, the Michigan native has committed to finishing her career at her hometown school and, after finishing eighth at NCAA Indoor Championship and 10th at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2012, looks to build upon those results and further cement a place among the all-time U-M greats. "I went from qualifying for nationals to actually being competitive in a year, "she said. "I went from being a contributor at Big Tens to someone who is going after a title. Now it's about building upon those experiences and continually striving for more. "I can't think of anything else more important to me than the sport itself, and I think that passion has helped me continue to drive forward, work and get better." — Kevin Minor

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Wolverine - February 2013