Carolina Carmichael finally broke through in April.
A sophomore pole vaulter at Memphis and a former Lake Forest state champion, Carmichael was competing in a meet at Auburn. For years, she had been fixated on one height. She’d tried countless times in practice and succeeded. But in meets, she’d failed to clear the bar.
“I never made it to 13 feet. As soon as the bar went up, I would change something [in my routine],” Carmichael said. “I tried making excuses, but it was all in my head.”
At the Auburn meet, she easily cleared 12-foot-7 on her first jump. The bar was raised to 12-10. She leaped over it. Next would be 13-1.