Sydney Clute’s confidence has vaulted to new heights.
With good reason.
The 2012 Center Grove High School graduate captured the pole vault competition with a school-record effort of 4.35 meters (14 feet, 3.25 inches) in the Big Ten Indoor Championships on Feb. 26 at Geneva, Ohio.
Clute had finished third in Big Ten Indoors in 2015, fourth in 2014 and 10th in 2013.
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She is now tied for 10th in the women’s college pole vault nationally. The top 16 will compete at March 11 and 12 NCAA Indoor Women’s Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, Alabama.
“Winning the Big Tens and breaking the school record has really given me a confidence boost heading into nationals and the outdoor season,” Clute said. “I still have a lot of things to fix and much room for improvement, too, so I know I will clear 4.40 before June to qualify for the Olympics Trials.”
The Olympic Trials for track and field will be be conducted July 1 through 10 at Eugene, Oregon.
“That would be an awesome experience to go to that,” Clute said. “I want to be an All-American outdoors, too.”
Clute placed eighth in the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2014.
Although this is Clute’s final NCAA indoor meet for the Hoosiers, she will compete for IU in the 2017 NCAA outdoor season.
Clute redshirted during the 2015 outdoor season because of a stress reactor in one of her metatarsals in her foot.
“We had planned on redshirting anyway to give me some time to work on things,” Clute said. “Everything ended up working well.”
Indiana pole vault coach Jake Wiseman said Clute had an average indoor season in 2015 because her injured foot was so tender.
“This is the first time she’s been 100 percent healthy since then,” Wiseman said
Wiseman said Clute has been progressing all year. Prior to the Big Ten meet, she had a vault of 4.30 meters Feb. 19 in the Alex Wilson Invitational at Notre Dame.
“She works hard,” Wiseman said. “She is one of the first ones there and one of the last to leave. I couldn’t ask for anything more. She’s passionate about it.
“Every day she comes to practice trying to get better.”
Clute credits Wiseman for her successful course.
“Coach Wiseman is a great coach, and he knows what he is doing,” Clute said. “We work well together. I think that’s one of the number one things when you are getting recruited is trying to find a coach that you work well under because you spend a lot of time with them.
“With all my teammates, we’re like a family. I don’t know if I would have found that every place I would have gone. I’m glad I ended up here.”
After she finishes her IU career, Clute plans to continue training for the 2020 Olympics.
Her desire to compete in the pole vault remains strong.
“I still love it,” she said.
Clute also was an all-state golfer at Center Grove, finishing tied for 11th in state tournament as junior. Now she views golf as a way to relax.
“I get to play some; not as much as when I was in high school and competition,” Clute said. “I definitely miss it. I miss being outside all that time. It’s definitely not as stressful anymore.
“I still am competitive when I play, but I can relax a little more and have a little more fun.”
Name: Sydney Clute
College: Indiana University
High school: Center Grove (2012)
High school highlights: Lettered in gymnastics for two years before Center Grove dropped the sport; earned four letters in both golf and track and field; finished third in pole vault at the 2010 and 2012 Girls Track and Field State Finals; was ninth in the long jump in 2010.
Favorite class: Creativity in communications
Favorite food: Grasshopper ice cream
Favorite TV shows: “The Big Bang Theory” and “The Walking Dead”
Career plans: “I want to do something in event planning, probably in sports. Sports has always been part of who I am. I don’t think after I’m done competing that I’ll want to give it up. I think I’ll always work somewhere in sports.”
Personal:Graduated in 2015 with major in marketing; working on master’s degree in tourism/hospitality. Parents are Ann and Lance Clute; has a sister, Lauren, who attends University of Alabama but is studying abroad in Africa this semester.