For some, flinging yourself 12 feet in the air with only a thin pole to support your weight would be completely horrifying, but for senior Terrill Webb it’s a true passion.
Webb started pole-vaulting in seventh grade and never looked back. Webb was recruited by several schools for her athletic talents in both soccer and track and ultimately decided to come to Bluffton University to pursue her two-sport passion.
Webb continued to break school records during her years at Bluffton until her junior year when she received an award she had only dreamed of. After her third collegiate season she received the status of All-American making her the first women’s track and field athlete to receive this award in Bluffton’s history.
Shortly after, Webb received more great news. She was named the top HCAC female athlete for the 2015-16 school year.
“I really was not expecting my junior year to go as well as it did, but through my coach’s confidence in me, he really set me up for success,” says Webb.
As a pole-vaulter, Webb participates in both the indoor and outdoor track seasons, which means she typically has a meet every weekend from December to May.
Webb has to follow a lot of requirements to keep her body healthy in such a long season.
“Typically after a meet I take a full day of rest with just some light stretching in order to let my body fully recover,” says Webb.
The day of a big meet has even more requirements. In order to keep nerves at bay, Webb sticks to her routine that she says never fails her.
After a relaxing morning of breakfast, coffee and a meeting with her coach, Webb tunes out the world and plugs into her Pandora station of choice.
“I always listen to Alicia Keys before a meet. It’s my pre-meet Pandora station,” says Webb.
Webb says the pressure doesn’t get to her much because she’s got people supporting her along the way. She attributes her success to her coach, Clint Dillon.
“I would accredit a lot of my success to him. He believed in me when I couldn’t, and he saw things that I couldn’t and never let me give up,” says Webb.
After such a successful junior year in pole vaulting, Webb looked forward to her fourth and final year of college athletics. But as with most things in life, Webb’s final season didn’t go as planned.
“In early January of my senior year, I tore my labrum in my hip,” says Webb.
With indoor season just underway this could have set Webb back tremendously, but she doesn’t look at it that way.
“It was a definitely a very frustrating injury but looking back on it, it made me appreciate my past accomplishments even more.”
Webb was able to continue to compete in several meets during her indoor season, and when her injury prohibited her from competing she would still travel with the team to support her friends and teammates.
Webb is also the women’s sprint and jumps captain where her main role is to keep team morale high especially after a tough work out or a hard meet. Webb’s positivity is one of the things that make her a great teammate and captain.
On April 18 Webb’s hard work through her final season with an injury paid off. Webb received the Kathryn E. Little Award as outstanding senior female athlete at the athletics awards ceremony. Even with an injury, Webb still managed to surprise herself with this achievement.
“I was really surprised. It was definitely great to receive such an honorary award at the end of my last season. I couldn’t have asked for a better end to my four years as a college athlete,” says Webb.
Looking towards the future, as Webb graduates in just a few short days, she says she’d like to coach vaulting someday.
“I do plan on getting into coaching vault, maybe at the high school level because I’ll always be connected to vaulting in some way.”