On broken foot, Slippery Rock’s Courtney McQuaide wins third PSAC pole vault title
Courtney McQuaide fought back tears as she limped to the medal stand and pulled herself up to the top block to receive her gold medal.
It wasn’t the writhing pain she felt in her left foot or the thrill from winning a third straight Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference pole vault title that had her eyes swimming. The Slippery Rock redshirt senior, despite soaring to another championship on one good leg, her foot wrapped in a walking boot, somehow wanted more.
“It’s odd, and maybe selfish, but my goal wasn’t to win,” said McQuaide, a Greensburg Salem graduate. “It was to get that 3.91 (meter) bar and then stop to save myself for nationals, so I think a lot of people misunderstood the reasoning behind my tears today. Even though I didn’t qualify for nationals, I am very proud of my win and that I could still contribute to my team with points.”
McQuaide, a former NCAA Division II national champion in the pole vault, shed the boot to compete but the throbbing pain was quelled only by her adrenaline to return to nationals. She cleared 3.81 meters Friday at Mansfield to win the event but needed a 3.91 to make it back to the NCAA meet.
McQuaide said she fractured her foot from “overuse.”
“I didn’t do anything to it specifically to cause it,” she said. “Just from training and vaulting I guess. I’ve sprained my left ankle few times this year and I think that I contact the ground slightly different with my foot because of the sprains and it ended up placing stress repetitively on just one bone in my foot and it caused the fracture.”
WTRACK: How tough is Courtney McQuaide? Tough enough to win her third straight pole vault title with a broken foot. She needed to clear 3.91m today to get back to nationals and came up just short at 3.81m, but closes her career as a national champion and a 3x All-American. 👏 pic.twitter.com/brxnJYirwc
— Rock Athletics (@Rock_Athletics) May 10, 2019
McQuaide wasn’t about to let a stress fracture that kept her sidelined for three weeks force her out of the conference meet.
“I just couldn’t see my career end the way it was ending,” she said. “I needed to try my best to get myself to nationals and that’s what got me through the pain. I didn’t get where I needed to be but I gave it everything I had.”
McQuaide also has two indoor conference titles.
Bill Beckner Jr. is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .