Waynesburg’s Kalsey ready to jump with the best at the U.S. Olympic Trials

Waynesburg’s Kalsey ready to jump with the best at the U.S. Olympic Trials

Marissa Kalsey celebrates hitting the mat after clearing 4.48 meters June 8 during the Katie Moon Pole Vault Classic in Olmsted Falls, Ohio. That height qualified the Waynesburg Central graduate for the U.S. Olympic team trials this week at Hayward Stadium.

By Jim Downey

For the Observer-Reporter

[email protected]

Qualifying for the U.S. Olympic Team Trials for Marissa Kalsey essentially came down to one last opportunity on June 8 in Ohio.

The Katie Moon Pole Vault Classic held at Olmsted Falls (Ohio) High School was essentially a “last chance meet” for vaulters seeking a spot in the events.

“Her agent set up a meet and greet in her honor,” Kalsey said of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics gold medalist. “It was a full circle event (for her). Lots of fans came. »

Kalsey realized she would have to post a better score to secure a spot on the tryout list.

“I tried to get a grade the whole outdoor season. I knew 4.38 meters wouldn’t be enough,” Kalsey explained. “Most of the girls in front of me already had a grade to go into the trials.

“We knew it was the last chance.”

As Kalsey glanced around the stadium during her warmup, she recognized a few of those fans.

“I was warming up and I looked, my whole family was in the stands wearing the ‘On Team Kalsey Shirts.’ My fiancé Dylan’s family was there. Bradi (Rhoades, his college coach and fellow Waynesburg Central grad) was there,” Kalsey said. “My heart started beating a lot.”

Kalsey said she had to refocus after recognizing her fan base.

“I was trying not to let the pressure get to me. It was the most nervous I’ve ever been,” Kalsey said.

She received calming words from her coach Brooke Rasnick.

“My coach told me to enjoy the journey. The journey is what matters. Stay on the path,” Kalsey said.

Additionally, what was weighing on Kalsey was that she had just missed qualifying for the final trials of 2020.

“The last few tries I just missed by a few points and a few inches,” Kalsey said.

However, Kalsey said she didn’t let the big moment get to her.

“I tend to step up my efforts in these scenarios. I felt reassured that I had done this before,” Kalsey added.

Kalsey cleared her opening height of 4.28 meters. She was clean at 4.38 meters.

Kalsey missed the first attempt at 4.48 meters, but managed the second to set her personal best. She began celebrating her descent to the mat and sprinted to hug her coach with the mark that secured her a spot on the trials field.

“I hugged my coach. We knew it had to be safe. It was even safer than we thought,” Kalsey said. “In fact, I had visualized over and over the exact jump I needed to do to mark the tries and the celebration with her. She was so committed and never gave up on me despite the difficulties, so I am grateful that she experienced this victory with me!

Kalsey feels like everything has come together for her after failing in the last few tries.

“I just missed a few spots in 2021. To be able to do it this time with everyone watching me. It was all so special. Everything came together at once,” Kalsey said.

The easiest way to qualify for the Paris Summer Olympics is to finish in the top 3 and clear the Olympic standard of 4.73 meters (15-6). Otherwise, an athlete must place in the top three and hope to earn a spot based on the world rankings.

Kalsey is currently ranked 53rd on the world list.

The preliminary round of the women’s pole vault will take place on Friday when the field of 24 is reduced to 12. The finals will take place on Sunday and the competition will end when only one vaulter remains.

“I competed at Hayward Field in 2022. The stadium is beautiful. It’s a huge hole,” Kalsey recalls. “I feel like I’m ready to face whatever (weather) cards are dealt that day.”

Kalsey moved to Louisville and changed coaches to Rasnick.

“Mentally it’s been an adjustment. I knew I had to make a change. I had trouble taking off. I had to start from square one,” Kalsey explained. “Brooke and I have really worked on building my confidence. I’m at the most confident point I’ve ever been.

Kalsey said the signs point to a big performance from Eugene.

“I believe there is a lot more in the tank. I think it’s there. It’s time to put it on the track,” Kalsey said. “I’m excited to go out and compete. I want to clear anything above 4.48 and try to reach the Olympic standard (4.73 meters). I think 4.53 would be a good height to reach.

Kalsey overcame a serious injury to win the Division III championship. Rhoades reminded her what she needed to do at that moment.

“I was talking to Brady on the phone when I still had a chance (to qualify). I felt under pressure. I was running out of opportunities. He told me you did it in the past when you were short on time,” Kalsey said of the conversation.

“I hung up and saw a double rainbow. I had chills. I took comfort in knowing that things would work out,” Kalsey continued. “Then after I competed (in Ohio), there was a double rainbow. They’re the only two I’ve ever seen.

“It was a highlight.”

“Some of my biggest and most memorable moments come after my most difficult moments. Every time I persevere, I come out the other side.

Oh and the double rainbow thing was “powerful”…. That’s the word I was looking for. My brain wasn’t working and I said cool, I think

which doesn’t describe it well hahaha. I will send you a photo.. for nothing but just so you can see it.

the other pole vault competitors that day (also my friends) at the competition were really happy for me because they knew what this brand meant to me! Honestly, the pole vault community is one of a kind, I think.

You can include whatever you want. I just need to get all my words out. You are good at telling a story, so please use what you want and discard what you don’t want. You probably have a ton of content!