Sara Finfrock achieved her career-best mark for pole vaulting in the indoor season this year with 13 feet and 3.5 inches at the Marshall Invitational on Feb. 9, but she finished second in the event. She is used to pushing herself as she posted her career-best in the outdoor season back at the Big 12 championship in 2016 with 12 feet and 10 inches.
With five matches left before the Big 12 Outdoor Championship, Finfrock feels motivated to break her career-best as she finishes her last year in Morgantown.
Finfrock played a variety of sports when she was younger. She got into track and field in middle school because her older sister was a runner.
"I kind of followed my sister’s footsteps," Finfrock said.
She ended up pole vaulting once she got into high school. Finfrock placed first at the Downingtown West Spring Invitational, vaulting a mark of 10 feet. She also vaulted a then-career-best mark of 10 feet and 12 inches at the 2014 PIAA District 1 AAA Outdoor Championship in high school.
Finfrock followed her dad’s footsteps as she decided to come to West Virginia University.
"My dad was a wrestler here at West Virginia," Finfrock said."I really wanted to sort of follow him and pursue my dreams of being a West Virginia athlete as well."
Once arriving in Morgantown, Finfrock describes how her first season here she had to adjust to things in order to thrive.
"It’s definitely a huge transition going from high school to college, so that was a lot of adjustment for me," Finfrock says. "But once I sort of got the hang of things and adjusting to my new strengths and physique. I mostly improve towards the outdoor season, more towards the end of the year."
She says the biggest difference between high school track and college is time management.
"When you’re in high school, you just have a lot of people telling you ‘This is where you have to be and when,’" Finfrock said. "When you come to college, it’s all on your own. So you got to be able to know to take control of that and take it to where you need to be."
This year, Finfrock set her career-best mark in the indoor season at the Marshall Invitational where she got 13 feet and 3.5 inches. She describes that moment as "a long time coming."
"That was a really, really great moment," Finfrock said. "I was so excited for days after. I had been trying to break that personal best for two years now . . . I knew I could do it this year to finally achieve that goal was really exciting. I knew I worked hard for it."
However, Finfrock is always motivated to break it again.
"I’m always, always, always wanting to get the next height," Finfrock said. "That’s the number one thing about pole vaulters is no matter what we always want to get that next bar."
Finfrock calls that achievement her biggest accomplishment yet.
"I learned a lot at West Virginia and especially on the track team," Finfrock said. "I think just improving my commitment, my attendance, my skills. I would say all of it comes into play. I think a lot just being on the team in general."
Her goals for the rest of the outdoor season are to set the bar again and to qualify for regionals.
The biggest challenge for Finfrock while at WVU was keeping up with school work.
"When we’re on the road, a really good challenge, is trying to keep up with the school work," Finfrock said. "You get very overwhelmed at times, I think that is the biggest challenge is just making sure you’re not too overwhelmed."
Looking back at all of it, Finfrock says her time here in Morgantown has been
"I have learned the most in these past four years than in my entire life," Finfrock said. "The best part being I love the girls on the track team, definitely the best part of my experience has been track and field and being able to travel to places and doing what I love to do. Track is something I’m very passionate about."
After WVU, Finfrock will work at the Hershey Company as a sales representative. She hopes to continue pole vaulting in the future.