This year’s Olympic Trials will host many former Coyote athletes in the hopes of moving on and securing their spots on the Olympic team.
Emily Grove is one of the former USD athletes that will compete in this summer’s Olympic Trials. The Trials will take place in Eugene, Oregon at the end of June.
Grove is competing in her third Olympic Trials for pole-vaulting in 2021. She began her pole-vaulting career in the eighth grade in her hometown of Pontiac, Illinois.
When Grove was in the eighth grade she was drawn to pole-vaulting because at the time there was a high school kid in her hometown that was really good and she thought that jumping looked a lot cooler than running 400s around the track, Grove said.
During her high school career, Grove was a two-time Illinois state champion and set the Illinois state record in the pole-vault at 13 feet, five inches.
Making it to the Olympics was never on her radar growing up. Instead, Grove said, she liked to make smaller and more-achievable goals for herself.
“The first step for me was just to go to college to pole-vault, then the second step was to be a Division I All-American, and then finally I was just focused on what heights I could jump,” Grove said.
Grove graduated from USD with her undergrad in 2015 and stayed to complete her masters in 2017. Now Grove remains on campus helping out in the financial aid office and training with her coach, Derek Miles.
In order to qualify to compete in the Olympic Trials in pole-vaulting, World Athletics puts out a standard which an athlete has to meet within a certain time frame. For women pole-vaulters, they have to reach a height of 4.70 meters.
Grove reached this standard height of 4.70 meters in August of 2019 and secured her spot in the Olympic Trials.
In order to prepare for the trials, Grove has stuck to a strict training schedule. She trains with Miles anywhere from five to six days a week. During this time, she focuses on sprinting drills, plyometrics, Olympic lifting and will complete practice jumps one or two times a week.
While Grove tries to train as much as possible, there have been some moments where COVID-19 has affected her ability to access the training facilities. These tricky moments haven’t stopped Grove — instead, they have continued to push her toward her goal of making it to the Olympics.
“I’m pretty focused on what I’m trying to accomplish, so it keeps me motivated. I’m very excited for this summer because there are a lot of opportunities that could arise,” Grove said.
Grove isn’t the only former Coyote to secure their spot in the Olympic Trials. Three 2019 graduates have also qualified to compete in the trials. These students include discus thrower Ben Hammer, hammer thrower Lara Boman and three-time NCAA pole-vault champion Chris Nilsen.