Climbing fast: Natasha Masterson
Jan. 26, 2010
Georgia Latcham, Texas Media Relations
Heptathlete Natasha Masterson is already reaching great heights in her freshman season -- pun intended.
This past weekend at the Texas A&M Dual Meet, the Pflugerville native tied UT's indoor pole vault school record when she cleared 13-6.25 feet in just her second meet as a Texas Longhorn.
"It's very surprising, but at the same time, I've done a lot to prepare for it," Masterson said of her achievement. "It was coming."
The freshman matched Ashley Laughlin's indoor school record, and Laughlin is the only Longhorn in school history who has cleared four-meters in the pole vault. Laughlin is also someone whose career Masterson watched even before she came to the Forty Acres.
"For as long as I've been following UT, Ashley's always been there," Masterson said. "I've talked with her a couple of times. I'm on her pole series, and for my coaches to say, `Well these are the poles Ashley was using,' is kind of cool that I can be with her, next to her. It all came really fast."
Fast is an understatement. At the Longhorns' season opener on Jan. 15, Masterson set a career-best height of 12-7.5 feet, and in just a week's time, improved her personal record by almost a full foot.
"I've really been watching a lot of video," Masterson explained. "I knew that I really needed to work on my technique and to really be able to trust. There's a lot of trust that goes on in pole vaulting. I've been bailing out and not letting the complete vault happen. By letting go and letting everything happen the way it's supposed to be, it kind of clicked and a lot of height came out of it."
Masterson's motivation and dedication to improvement come from a desire to contribute to the team, something head coach Beverly Kearney has already noticed in the newcomer.
"Earlier this season, I told her that she was going to score at the conference meets this year, and she said to me `No Coach, I'm going to score at nationals,'" Kearney said. "That shows the kind of heart she has. She is about team -- that's what this is about."
Masterson is setting her sights high for both her team and herself this season. And she's well on her way as her current height is tied for the sixth-highest in the nation and is the second-highest reached by a freshman nationally this season.
"I want to jump 4.25m, which is the UT outdoor record, and hopefully above." Masterson explained with a smile. "I just want to keep going up and score at nationals and for our team to win the national meet."