LAKEWOOD -- It's been quite the journey for Legacy High School freshman pole vaulter Victoria Spitzley.
The latest trophy for her case is the one for third place that she took at the state 5A girls pole vault May 19 at Jefferson County Stadium.
"It was great," she said. "I came in with a PR (personal record) of 11-9 (11 feet 9 inches), and I'm leaving at 12-3. That is fantastic. I've been going for 12 feet all season, and I got it, first attempt here at 12-3. It was unbelievable."
The experience of state wasn't what she thought.
"My sister (who qualified for state a year ago), had a bad outing," Spitzley said. "So in the back of my mind, I was like, 'What if this goes wrong? What if this happens?' I got the first bar (11-3), and I started to calm down. At 12-3, I thought, 'It's going well.'
The size of the crowd didn't matter.
"I don't want to sound vain. But I love jumping in front of an audience," Spitzley said. "I don't like to jump alone. I love jumping with these girls. I love the support. I've got my friends here, my teammates here. That's really supportive. It was a new facility, so I wasn't sure where my step would be, what the weather would be like. As far as the crowd, I was excited to jump here."
Her start came from a TV show.
"We used to watch a show called 'American Ninja Warriors,'" she said. "All the girls who were really good were pole vaulters. I was like, 'I want to try that.' My mom brought me to a club. I started vaulting. Mom bought a pit. She started learning to coach. It really escalated. All my sisters do it together."
Spitzley remembered her first meet. It came after four days of practice.
"I cleared 5-8 in that meet. But in my first attempt, I brought the pole down and smashed the bar right off," Spitzley laughed. "I just clung onto the pole. I've done a lot of training since."
She's going to take some time off to spend with her sister, who is home from school. Spritzley is about to celebrate a birthday as well.
"It means so much. I remember starting and watching girls vault and thinking I would never get there," she said. "I've got my sister here. My friends are here. It's phenomenal."