SIDNEY — Leila Ben-Youssef. Vannessa Bawden. Jalyssa Gorder.
The list of standout female athletes to pole vault for Sidney High School goes on and on. Myka Steinbeisser intends to officially add her name to the list later this month.
Sidney vaulters have left their marks all over the Class A record books. Ben-Youssef set the class-record vault of 12 feet, 4 inches in 2000. Later, the Eagles combined to win seven consecutive pole vaulting titles from 2007-13, with Bawden (2009, 2010) and Gorder (2012, 2013) each claiming two gold medals.
Miranda Fehilly (2007), Mykayla Fink (2008) and Mikayla Minow (2011) also won pole vaulting championships during the streak.
Steinbeisser is the latest in the long line of vaulters, clearing a personal-record (PR) height of 11-09 at the Sidney Invitational last season. It was all for naught, though, as the championship favorite failed to clear the bar a single time at the state meet.
“The biggest motivation that I’ve had was no-heighting last year,” Steinbeisser said. “I think that was one of the best things that could’ve happened to me. … No one should be afraid to fail ever. You need to learn from failure. As soon as that happens, you’ll want to keep getting better and strive each and every day to reach your final goal and more goals to come.”
Steinbeisser’s goal for the 2018 season is simple: get her first state title.
Despite her numerous successes and bright future — Steinbeisser has signed to vault at Arizona State — she has yet to win a state championship. She placed fourth as a sophomore in 2016 when teammate Aubrey Kessel cleared 10-06 for the State A title.
After last year’s no height, Steinbeisser is back atop Montana’s pole vault rankings. She cleared 11-06 at Tuesday’s North/East Top 10 meet in Glasgow.
“I’ve been mainly working on technique, the little things to put everything together when it comes to state and divisionals,” Steinbeisser said. “Hopefully good things will come from there. I’m just being really patient this season. I’m hoping to PR, just have to put everything together.”
Of course, Steinbeisser has plenty of help to perfect her technique. She works daily with classmate Garrison Hughes, one of the best pole vaulters Montana has ever produced. Hughes already owns the Class A boys state record, clearing 16-0 on his way to the 2017 State A championship. Hughes vaulted 16-09 this season, which is believed to be the highest vault in Montana high school history.
“Oh my gosh, (training with Hughes) is the greatest thing in the world. We’ve been working together since we were freshmen,” Steinbeisser said. “I don’t know what I’d do without him. We just push each other to do our best every day. … We really do push each other to get better. We tell each other what we need to work on. We have different parts of our vault that we need to work on, and we can see it in each other’s progressions and whatnot. It’s just a really big help to have someone else that can relate.”
Steinbeisser is hoping she can relate to Hughes in one more way in a few weeks: as state champions.