The University of Dallas school pole vault record stood for 14 years before it was broken by freshman Anna Brunk. But that was only in the first meet. She’s been taking the field by storm and plans on breaking her own record by the end of the season, hoping to end with a high 10’6 jump.
What looked like a gymnastics career took a turn when Brunk went to high school and made the switch to track and field. The transition between the two sports is common and Brunk says since they are both cerebral sports.
“If you can get over the fact that you’re flipping your body into the air and could potentially break your neck, then you can pole vault,” she said.
She adds that the emphasis on upper-body strength for both sports made the change to pole vaulting easier.
After competing in high school, playing in college seemed like the next step. She signed with Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina her senior year. The Division II Catholic school seemed like a good fit at the time.
However the biology major quickly found that, “athletics seemed to take precedence at the school, and I wanted to be more academically challenged.” UD had been among the schools she had applied to her senior year, so when it came to transferring, UD seemed like the right fit.
Brunk says that UD has definitely been academically challenging, but something she was not anticipating was the rigorous training she would be doing on the team.
“I signed with Belmont my senior year of school and it was a Division II school, so the workouts were intense. Coming to UD, I was surprised, in a good way, to find that the training was about the same as it was at Belmont,” Brunk said.
She was only on the running side of track and field with Belmont, and hadn’t trained in pole vaulting for nine months prior to starting her training with UD. However, she was surprised to find that she still had a lot of the technique down.
She attributes this mainly to the coaches of the team: Coach Barber, Coach Cato and Coach Griffith. Coach Cato, who was a Division I athlete and decathlete in college, specifically works with the pole vaulters.
“He’s use to a rigorous training program and that’s how he trains us.” Brunk said.
Presently, she holds the school record for pole vaulting with a 9’6”, but Brunk plans on those numbers going up before the season ends.