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Ex-state champ Weller trying to get pole vaulting career back on track
By David Allen For Sun-Times Media January 1, 2012 7:44PM
Jump High Academy coach Bob Cervenka helps Megan Weller. | File photo
Updated: January 2, 2012 2:17AM
Megan Weller just turned 20, yet she longs for the good old days — the ones from just a couple of seasons ago when she was a state champion pole vaulter.
Weller won the championship as a junior at Lincoln-Way East in 2009 and signed a National Letter of Intent to the powerful University of Arkansas women’s track and field team prior to her senior outdoor season.
She was highly recruited after her junior year but has struggled since then, and hopes things get better as a college sophomore. Arkansas begins its indoor season Friday with 15 returning All-Americans.
“I’m not exactly where I’d like to be,” Weller said. “Last year was great getting introduced to college athletics. It was a big change; I had to learn about the college style and workouts. This year, I’m looking to do a lot more.”
Weller was visiting at the Dec. 28 Jingle Jumping indoor pole vault and high jump event, hosted by her former private coach, Bob Cervenka, and his Jump High Athletic Club.
“I’ve had the chance to come back here a couple of times,” Weller said. “I know he looks everything up for every meet I have.”
She wanted the opportunity to see and talk with Cervenka, who coached her throughout high school, and some of the current local talent while home on break.
“She knows when she struggles she can reach out for some help,” said Cervenka, a Plainfield resident. “It’s another opportunity for her to reach out where she had success.”
Weller was the Class 3A state champion with a jump of 11 feet, 9 inches. The highlight of her junior year was a 13-1 jump that was sixth in the nation for a high school girl.
She hasn’t reached that height since and didn’t place in the top six at state her senior year.
“I had some nagging injuries then went into a whole mental stage,” Weller said of her senior year. “I believe this sport is more mental than physical. It’s more mental than anything. You have to have confidence in yourself.”
Weller also was a star gymnast, and qualified for state in all-around competition and the uneven bars all four years of high school. But she gave up that sport at age 18 after nearly a dozen years and hopes her vaulting career soon gets back on track.
“I had good jumps, but I can’t find them now,” Weller said. “Sometimes, it feels like it’s still there.”
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